Society needs Clearwater volunteers to handle growing demand

One in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 lives with Alzheimer's and other dementias. And that number is projected to double

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson, author

This quote echoes the sentiment of the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C, especially in the Clearwater area.

Volunteers are a treasured resource that allow the society to provide a range of free services for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Volunteers help the society with everything from making phone calls to caregivers to facilitating support groups.

“They are absolutely invaluable to our team and are a big reason why we are able to meet the growing need for support and education for families living with dementia,” says Tara Hildebrand, the society’s regional support and education coordinator for the Central Interior.

An estimated one in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 already lives with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. And that number is projected to double over the next generation.

With the need for assistance soaring, help from volunteers is critical for the non-profit.

The need locally right now is for volunteers who can facilitate local support groups that meet each month.

The groups are based on the philosophy that people with similar issues are in a unique position to offer support to others on the same journey. The objective is to strengthen the coping abilities of caregivers and people with early symptoms of dementia, and reduce the impact of dementia on the community.

The position has a few basic requirements:

• Excellent listening and empathetic skills.

• Knowledge of dementia or a willingness to learn.

• Facilitation skills or a willingness to learn.

• Formal or informal caregiving an asset.

Training is provided, and a one-year commitment is required.

For more information on the volunteer positions, contact Hildebrand toll-free at toll-free 1-800-886-6946 or tHildebrand@alzheimerbc.org

Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by visiting www.alzheimerbc.org.