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Victoria woman shares dementia journey with her mom to help support other caregivers

Key Alzheimer Society of B.C. fundraiser in communities across the Island on May 26

Patricia Farmer’s experience with dementia started one evening in October 2022, with a call from her mom, Mary, who had seemed to be doing well living independently. That night, Patricia heard a discombobulated version of her mom on the line – a woman who didn’t know the day of the week, if it was day or night and had forgotten to eat. Then came a fall after Thanksgiving dinner at Patricia’s house. When Patricia took Mary home after the incident, the decline she had first heard on the phone was suddenly all around her in conspicuously hidden dirty laundry and a refrigerator stacked with rotten leftovers. Their journey with dementia has been an intense one ever since.

“I would go every morning and make sure she was up and prepare breakfast for her,” Patricia says. “I just realized it was a fast, slippery slope and she was deteriorating really quickly. My mom needed me.”

Patricia is among the more than 50,000 caregivers in British Columbia who provide an estimated 1.3 million hours per week of unpaid caregiving support to people living with dementia. This May, people across the province will have the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of people like Patricia by raising funds for essential Alzheimer Society of B.C. programs and services.

Patricia is being honoured at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s largest fundraiser, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, presented by Go Auto, in Victoria for her contribution to the community and her desire to share her story to help other people affected by dementia. Taking place in communities across the province, including Nanaimo, Oceanside and the Comox Valley on Sunday, May 26, proceeds from the event help provide critical supports for people affected by dementia while breaking down stigma surrounding the disease.

Patricia was referred to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. by hospital staff early in their journey and immediately felt at home in a caregiver support group, where she helps support other caregivers to prioritize their own well-being and stand up for the people living with dementia in their lives. She is very grateful for the connection and support the Alzheimer Society of B.C. has provided for her.

“I knew it was a safe place. I knew I wasn’t alone. I felt very comfortable at the first meeting and hearing other people’s stories, I thought ‘Wow, I’m in the right place.’”

To help make a difference in the lives of people like Patricia on the dementia journey in your community, visit WalkForAlzheimers.ca.

If you are affected by dementia, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. can help. Call the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033 or visit alzheimerbc.org.