Today’s Poll

Dementia a Journey of Caring for Nelson Families

By Contributor
October 9th, 2013

When a Nelson resident receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, they are not the only ones who are affected.

“Dementia can profoundly impact the lives of those closest to the person, including caregivers, family members and friends,” said Julie Leffelaar, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. for Nelson and the West Kootenays.

People who are caring for someone with dementia will experience the challenges associated with the disease in their own unique way.

“It is important to recognize that there are many different approaches to supporting someone with dementia, and caregivers often need to explore a variety of techniques and strategies to determine what works best for them.”

About one in 11 Canadians over age 65 already live with dementia. The diagnosis triggers a flood of emotions, said Leffelaar, including fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment and disbelief.

At the same time, it may also provide a sense of relief, as it offers an explanation for the symptoms people experience.

“There is no right or wrong way to feel,” she says. “Everyone is unique in how they will perceive their disease and the challenges it brings to their life. What is important to understand is that the changes you are seeing in yourself are due to the disease.  They are not your fault.”

To help area residents who are dealing with the impact of dementia, the society runs a free local support and information group. It serves as a forum for sharing practical tips and strategies for coping with the disease.

The group helps create support and friendship with others whose lives are affected by dementia. For more information contact Leffelaar at 250-365-6769 (toll-free 1-855-301-6742) or

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, visit

Other News Stories