By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 8, 2022.
A group of University of Lethbridge Nursing students provided seniors and caregivers at Nord-Bridge Senior Centre an information session recently on dementia and Alzheimers.
As part of their practicum a group of nursing students have been providing seniors in the community with information sessions about various topics. Ava Donnelly, a third year student said they previously surveyed the seniors at Nord-Bridge to find out what subjects were of interest to them.
Donnelly said they had a bigger turnout than they anticipated.
“We were kind of worried that people were not going to come because of the weather, but we had a fantastic turn out, and it was super engaging,” said Donnelly.
She said the seniors were loving it and they had a real consolidation of learning.
“They could tell us what they learned from the presentation, their own experiences, it was a really good presentation,” said Donnelly.
She said they talked about the process of memory loss, about Alzheimer’s and dementia, signs and symptoms of both and about ways to slow down the progression and prevention of dementia.
“We also discussed what living with dementia is like, and how they can cope with living with dementia. And also, the caregiver piece on what being a caregiver is like, and the resources they can check out, if they are a caregiver for someone with dementia,” said Donnelly.
She said many seniors and caregivers in attendance did not know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s and they were able to learn about it throughout the presentation.
“Dementia is kind of an umbrella term for the memory loss, mood changes and brain changes, and Alzheimer’s is just a specific disease that falls under the term of dementia,” explained Donnelly.
She said part of their practicum is focused on health promotion.
“A big part of working here at Nord-Bridge is working with this seniors community and giving them resources and education on certain health issues that they find applicable to their lives,” said Donnelly.
She said previous topics included a presentation on depression, anxiety and mindfulness.
“We’ve done presentations on pain management, blood pressure management and arthritis,” said Donnelly.
She said the next presentation will be focusing on technology and how to use their hand-held devices, which third year nursing student at the U of L, Makayla Rath, is working on.
“We’ve noticed through COVID how in-person connections were kind of lost and it made it a lot more difficult for seniors to navigate their own phone, to be able to use Zoom or FaceTime, just to be able to talk to their family,” said Rath.
She said they have noticed around the centre that a lot of seniors have a lot of questions regarding different apps, or how to even connect to Wi-Fi.
“They don’t understand what their phone can actually do for them, so we are just creating a presentation showcasing basics on how to use their phone, or their iPads, tablets, depending on what they have, so they’re able to connect with others,” said Rath.
She said they are also helping seniors access resources available to them as most are online.
This presentation will take place on Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. at Nord-Bridge Senior Centre.
After that presentation the nursing students will be hosting a Health Fair on Nov. 24 at Nord-Bridge which will be open to all seniors in the community and caregivers as well. They do not have to be members of the Nord-Bridge for that specific event. There will be multiple vendors, and door prizes for those in attendance.
“The police are coming and they’re going to talk about scams like money scams and fraud, and we’ve got the Alzheimer’s Society coming because that seems to be a big topic lately around here,” said Rath.
Donnelly added that they will also have nursing students running a blood pressure clinic.
“You can come down and get your blood pressure taken and read,” said Donnelly.
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