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Caregivers can't give if their own 'well is empty'

Caregiver well-being is the goal of the Alzheimer Society of York Region's Forget-Me-Not Breakfast April 27
2019 04 03 Alzheimer event Jill Hewlett
Brain fitness expert Jill Hewlett will discuss caregiver wellness at the Alzheimer Society of York Region's Forget-Me-Not Breakfast April 27. Supplied photo/Jill Hewlett

This article is written by Lisa Day, communications and fund development coordinator, Alzheimer Society of York Region.

Caregiving is tough.

And when it comes to caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, caregiving is also time consuming, particularly as the disease progresses: 75 per cent more hours are spent caring for someone with dementia compared to other chronic diseases, according to the Alzheimer Society of York Region.

Because of that, caregivers are prone to burnout and stress unless they learn to take time for themselves.

“What happens with the person living with dementia happens with the caregivers,” said Dr. Dr. J.B. Orange, professor in the school of communications and sciences and disorders at Western University and the scientific director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western, and the keynote speaker of the Alzheimer Society of York Region’s Forget-Me-Not Breakfast, taking place April 27 at King’s Riding Golf Course, 14700 Bathurst St.

In his presentation, Orange will educate and teach caregivers practical strategies to help communicate with people living with dementia, which will in turn make the “lives of family members better.”

The strategies are also intended to ensure people living with dementia are treated with dignity and respect and allow them to take part in conversations.

The presentation is for “people who are eager to learn new information and to learn how to communicate in better ways than what they are doing now, to enhance their quality of life and well-being. The session is intended to open their eyes at novel ways to communicate or to reaffirm that what they are doing works.”

Jill Hewlett, a brain fitness expert, will also discuss caregiver wellness during her interactive session.

“We can’t give what we don’t have,” Hewlett said. “If our own well is empty, we are heading in the same direction as those who are dependant on us. When we take time to nurture our own brain health and fitness, immediate and long-term benefits can be experienced.”

Both sessions will be followed by a question and answer session.

Tickets for the event, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., are $50. To learn more about the breakfast, visit . To purchase tickets, visit Sponsorships are still available. Contact Lauren O’Brien at [email protected] or call 905-726-3477, ext. 244.