Understanding dementia: 'I know there's fear out there'
'Every day is exam day for someone with dementia'
Dementia affects thousands of Islanders and their families, yet many people still struggle to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease.
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Jane Ross hopes to help with that in a workshop she'll present Thursday called Understanding Dementia.
Ross worked for the Don Mills Foundation for Seniors in Toronto for 22 years with people living with dementia, many of them coordinating day programs for Alzheimer patients.
"I know there's a fear out there, people don't know how to act," Ross told CBC Radio's Island Morning host Matt Rainnie.
She hopes to share what it feels like for the person living with dementia, advice on recognizing the signs and the importance of positive communication.
"I hope they start to see the world through the eyes of the person suffering from this disease," she said.
"Every day is exam day for someone with dementia. Will I get it right or wrong?"
'Many caregivers are very stoic'
Everyone should know how to handle dementia patients, Ross said, and she's pleased to see more police departments making sure their officers are educated.
"I don't need to tell the caregivers what it's like because they already know what it's like. But sometimes the friends and families don't know what the caregivers are going through because many caregivers are very stoic," Ross said, adding caregiver burnout is a problem and support groups and respite care are an important outlet.
Ross's talk happens Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Saint Peter's Cathedral Church Hall in Charlottetown. She has invited representatives from police, public transit and the fire department and everyone is welcome. To register you can call (902) 370-5112.
Listen to Island Morning weekdays from 6 to 8:30 a.m. on CBC Radio.
With files from Island Morning