WILLIWAWS by Nancy Whelan

Dealing with Dementia: Team in Parksville Qualicum Beach comes to the rescue


NEWS Columnist

Four years ago a dear friend suffered a devastating hemorrhagic stroke. Blood flooded the right side of his brain. Coma. Paralysis. Non-responsiveness. We were told, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Nine days later that poor brain opened its eyes to a sunny January morning! We knew that we were on our way to following the first half of that pronouncement.

We then faced the daunting question of “How?” How does one help an ailing brain? Why does a brain develop problems? Who or What can tell us what we need to know? There was not much easily available help at the time. But almost as if they sensed our despair, a number of knowledgeable people were even then coming to our rescue.

This was the Oceanside Dementia Education Task Team, (ODETT).

On Saturday, March 16, from 10 AM till 3 PM, at Parksville’s Knox United Church, ODETT will present the educational seminar, “MOMENT BY MOMENT – learn from yesterday, live for today, plan for tomorrow.”

ODETT held its inaugural meeting in June of 2009, its members all volunteers, persons with dementia, family caregivers, a nurse, counselors, music therapist and those interested in learning about dementia. Partnered with other community group agencies, ODETT began its free educational sessions on dementia. Its first major seminar took place in PV in 2010 with a keynote speaker who was herself coping with dementia.

Dementia, from the Latin de (apart) and mens (mind) is the gradual and progressive deterioration of out ability to process thought and act upon it in a useful and accepted manner; it is the gradual loss of our intelligence. Dementia is the umbrella term for several forms of dementia, including, but not restricted to Alzheimer’s. It can be the result of stroke, brain injury, or other disease.

The “Moment by Moment” seminar will give hope and help to dementia sufferers, their families, and their caregivers. Jane Hope of the Alzheimer Society will provide information on support groups for caregivers, education programs, information bulletins, and teleworkshops in the Oceanside area.

Ronine Sharp RN, will present “The Top Ten for Brains” – an A to J list of what articles and specialists agree are good for brain maintenance: Attitude, Belong, Clear, Devotion, Exercise, Food, Games, Help, Investigate, Jive. These come with the examples and science to back up the focus words and how to apply them for a better brain.

Teepa Snow, a nationally recognized dementia care professional trainer, will explain many mysteries of our brain and its functions and offer clear suggestions for coping with its aging and/or deterioration. The showing of her clear and excellent DVD, “The Senior Gems” likens each area of our brain to one of several gems, explains its workings, and offers methods of coping with developing dementia.

Other presenters at “Moment by Moment” will be Dr. Rick Henderson on how longevity and quality of life is related to lifestyle and early diagnosis and hazards of the acute care system; Notary Public, Daryl McLane will discuss legal issues and Advanced Care Planning; D’Arcy Falkiner on “Finding Forrest Society”; Tina Biello with the importance of exercise and social interaction ; Marika Wamback on nutrition of wellness and managing of stress.

“MOMENT BY MOMENT” is a day full help and inspiration for the past, present, and future of ourselves and our loved ones. Pre-registration is appreciated … please e-mail odett.is@gmail.com or phone (mornings only) to 250 927 6170. Bring a bag lunch; beverages and snacks will be provided.

The “Moment by Moment” Seminar is free and supported by a grant from VIHA as well as support by Knox United and Quality Foods. –30-