The Alzheimer Society in District 69 is in urgent need of volunteers to handle the growing demand.
Volunteers are a treasured resource that allow the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to provide a range of free services for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
They help the society with everything from making phone calls to caregivers to facilitating support groups.
“They are absolutely invaluable to our team,” said Jane Hope, the society’s regional support and education coordinator.
Around one in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 already deals with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, which is projected to double over the next generation.
The resulting need for assistance is soaring, and volunteers help ensure that the demand is met.
Most needed locally at the moment is a facilitator to run monthly support meetings and a volunteer to make outreach calls to caregivers for the First Link early intervention program.
They ask for some basic requirements including excellent empathetic skills, knowledge of dementia or a willingness to learn and caregiving experience would be an asset.
Training is provided, and a one-year commitment is required.
“I have been honoured and touched by the many caregivers who have shared the challenges of their journey with me,” said Anne Jankowski, who volunteers as a First Link support volunteer with the society. “It’s exceptionally rewarding to know that I have made a meaningful difference in someone’s life.”
“Volunteering has given me the feeling that I can do something very positive in the midst of the difficult journey of dementia,” said Roger Kimmerly, a support group facilitator. “I often feel I get far more back in return than I give”.
Caregivers who work with the volunteers can vouch for the positive impact on their lives.
“It is very challenging to even know where to begin,” said Howard Lamb, who provides care.
“The Alzheimer Society not only opened doors for me, it gave me a new lease on life. I am no longer a lonely traveller but have connected with others with similar experiences and continue to learn on my journey.”
For more information on the volunteer positions, contact Hope toll-free at 1-800-462-2833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get more information on dementia at www.alzheimerbc.org.