New dementia support group coming to Richmond

It's for patients in the early stages and their families to learn how to manage their situation better.

A new support group for people living with dementia and  their caregivers in Richmond is beginning in the city this February.

It’s hosted by the Alzheimer Society of B.C., which already supports families affected by dementia in Metro Vancouver with phone-in services, support groups and Minds in Motion programs. This will be the first in-person support group for people who live in Richmond to attend after work.

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Dementia support group
In this file photo, a B.C. dementia support group meeting is underway. In February, The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is starting on in Richmond. Photo: Submitted.

Support and education coordinator Morgan Donahue hopes it will allow Richmondites affected by dementia and their loved ones to learn how to manage their situation better.

“It’s designed for people in early stages, to advocate for themselves and share experiences,” she told the Richmond News.

January is Alzheimer’s awareness month, but Donahue said her society helps people with any kind of dementia. She explained Alzheimer’s is just one of several incurable neuro-degenerative disorders the support group targets.

“A lot of our focus is on improving quality of life and reducing stigma,” she said.

This year, the Alzheimer Society of Canada has released a national campaign called Yes I Live with Dementia, Let Me Help You Understand. It features personal stories from people all over the country, including one man from Ontario who enrolled in a university program after his diagnosis. 

Donahue said one myth she wants to bust this year is that only old people suffer from dementia. In fact, she said, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s can suffer from early-onset dementia, and sometimes have a tougher time accessing resources because they don’t look like the typical dementia patient.

The new workshops in Richmond will take place on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. For more information or to register, you can contact the Alzheimer Society of B.C. at 604-681-6530 or info@alzheimerbc.org.

The society also provides Chinese-language supports through their phone-in service. 

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