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Former LTC worker starting dementia support group in Campbell River

Community support system where people can get free education and know they’re not alone
Sarah Khan is starting a new dementia support group in Campbell River. Submitted image

Having worked in long term health care for seven years, Sarah Khan knew the difficulty of looking after someone suffering from dementia.

But it wasn’t until her grandmother came to live with her that she discovered the full toll it can have on families.

She was working at an LTC facility during the day, and caring for her grandma at night, and said she felt alone, and completely burnt out.

To help other families who might be in the same situation, Khan is starting a dementia support/education group in Campbell River.

“Dementia is a weird because you find yourself grieving someone before the person dies, because they’re not themselves any more,” she said.

It’s one of the more difficult ailments for families to deal with, because it’s almost possible to be prepared for it, Khan explained.

“That’s why I wanted to start a support group, hoping it takes that feeling of isolation away.”

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The first meeting of the group will be on April 14 in the lounge of the community centre. It will take place between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Meetings will initially be every two months, but if all goes well, Khan said she would like to host them monthly.

“I hope with these groups we can create a strong support system, because Campbell River is a retirement town, and there are lots of people who might suffer from dementia.

The gatherings will be open to caregivers as well as people living with dementia.

“Sometimes when people are in the early stages of dementia, they recognize it, and they feel like quite a burden on their family, and so I really want to give them an opportunity to come in and be supported.

“I don’t think we should be favouring one person over another, because it’s a family problem when it comes down to it, there isn’t a single person who’s not affected at the end of the day.”

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