Navigating COVID-19 can be particularly difficult for those living with dementia or those who have loved ones suffering from dementia. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)

Webinars offer Penticton residents strategies to cope with dementia

Dementia sufferers are particularly impacted by disruption in routine caused by coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, challenges remain for people in Penticton, and other communities in the region, affected by dementia.

Many residents are impacted by the changes in care service and the disruption in daily routine, according to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

These changes may result in different symptoms and behaviours, including the development of hallucinations and delusions.

READ MORE: Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

Residents wanting to learn more about supporting a person living with dementia are invited to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s free upcoming webinar : “Delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes.” It’s set to take place later this month.

People living with dementia experience a wide range of delusions; incorrect perceptions of objects or events that seem incredibly real to the person experiencing them, but cannot be verified by anyone else.

A key first step for caregivers is recognizing, and controlling, the variables that put patients at an increased risk of delusions or hallucinations.

Some tips for responding to delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes include:

  • Ensure adequate lighting: Inadequate lighting can create an ambiguity about someone’s surroundings, and may contribute to paranoia and fears. For example, what may look like a housecoat in a properly lit setting could appear to be a person in a dimly lit setting.
  • Keep routines and schedules consistent: Constant change to routine can create a sense of confusion, disturbance and imbalance in a person living with dementia.
  • Determine whether a hallucination is bothersome: Hallucinations which create a positive reaction may not be important to address, as long as they do not promote dangerous behaviour.
  • Avoid arguing: People experiencing hallucinations and delusions are experiencing a different reality than the rest of us. Avoid arguing with their expression of these experiences, or attempting to debunk them.

If you would like to learn more about the cause and effects of delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes in people living with dementia, attend the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s webinar on hallucinations and delusions, Wednesday, June 24 at 2 p.m.

The society hosts free dementia education webinars every week for anyone affected by dementia.

The upcoming webinar schedule includes:

  • Research ready: Extending the cognitive healthspan (Friday, June 19, 11 a.m.): Local researcher Nathan Lewis shares the latest research on cognitive engagement as an intervention aimed at delaying the onset of cognitive decline
  • Delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes (Wednesday, June 24, 2 p.m.): Explore strategies for responding to delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes caused by dementia.
  • Living safely with dementia (Wednesday, July 8, 2 p.m.): Explore how people living with dementia and their families can live safely in the community.
  • Mindfulness practice as a skill for self-care through the care partnering experience, with Dr. Elisabeth Drance (July 15, 2 p.m.): A hands-on introduction to mindfulness practice and the benefits to you as a care partner, and the person you are supporting.

Visit alzbc.org/webinars to register for any of these upcoming webinars.

READ MORE: Dementia intensifies loneliness and loss for seniors in pandemic, says caregiver

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

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