Joined by her daughter Emily (right) and the rest of their family, Kathy Collins hopes to raise awareness about early onset dementia. (Submitted)

Cowichan sisters go viral on TikTok for early onset dementia awareness efforts

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She was 57 at the time.

With her parents Margaret and John, and her sister Jean by her side, caring for her daily, as well as her daughter Emily also collaboratively involved in her care, Kathy has a good solid support network here in the Cowichan Valley.

She and Jean also have a little secret. They’ve got almost 80,000 TikTok followers.

The sisters’ videos are a light-hearted, funny, and raw look at life with early-onset dementia and they will continue until Kathy’s capacities diminish.

“We feel that Kathy has an important story to share with others around this prevalent diagnosis and the best ways to support families who are coping with it,” said Jean.

The family can thank COVID-19 for getting them hooked on the social media megalith that is TikTok.

“In the midst of pandemic and being bored out of our minds, we downloaded the TikTok app,” Jean added. “We started making a few videos about Alzheimer’s and…she went viral! People resonated with Kathy and her account has swelled to almost 80,000 followers.”

While the sisters were pleased to be getting such a big audience to raise some awareness about Alzheimer’s, they did not expect what came next.

“Recently, a TikTok exploded on the app — over five million views — of a family yelling, swearing and mocking a family member with Alzheimer’s,” Jean said.

What’s more, her sister Kathy stumbled across the post and was very upset by it.

“We both truly feel that when people know better, they DO better,” Jean said. “Kathy’s mission is to spread awareness and support for people and their families who are struggling with this dreaded diagnosis.”

Jean said caring for a person with dementia is not at all easy, so she feels for the people in the viral video.

“God bless them,” she added. “I’m sure they love their mom and they’re doing their best, but they’re doing it wrong.”

Given Cowichan is a small community and the already limited resources are further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, “for the most part, unless someone’s in long term care, for the most part people are being cared for by family members.” Jean said.

If the dynamic duo can have one message sink in, it’s this: “When you’re interacting with people with dementia, it’s to keep things calm and cool and contented.”

Get to know Kathy and Jean by visiting https://www.tiktok.com/@thekathyproject. You don’t need a TikTok account to view their page.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alzheimer's Diseasecowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach roundabout project would cost nearly $2M

Town to apply for funds to cover $1.79M of the total

Town of Qualicum Beach defers discussions with preservation society regarding wetlands

CAO says registered covenant will protect land in perpetuity

Qualicum Beach seek funds for $4.5M community field project

Turf surface would allow for new sporting activities

Parksville homeowner must clean up property or face penalties

If deadline not met, city crews will do the job and a bill will be sent out

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

Most Read