Meet our Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer's North Island honouree: Sandie Somers
In terms of dementia education, Sandie Somers is an international superstar. Sandie, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Dementia and seniors’ healthcare with Island Health, has built a career in service of people living with dementia and their caregivers. From working with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in the ‘90s to secure provincial funding to launch First Link® dementia support on Vancouver Island, to developing award-winning educational tools for health-care providers that are used around the world, Sandie has transformed the experience of people affected by dementia. And she’s not done yet.>
Sandie is in the final stages of her latest project, a 10-part series of short videos and fact-sheets produced by Island Health MultiMedia in close consultation with family caregiver focus groups. Each video offers direct dos and don’ts, practical advice from caregivers. It’s unlike anything else available – an ongoing theme in Sandie’s career, despite all of the resources she’s developed since beginning her nursing career at the Alberta Hospital Ponoka.
“There’s tons of information out there, but when (caregivers) are in the midst of highly emotional situations, they don’t necessarily have the time to read it,” says Sandie, who knows the role of the family caregiver, both professionally, and as the daughter of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The videos show professional actors in real-life scenarios, making mistakes and providing tangible solutions. Jane Hope, Alzheimer Society of B.C. Support and Education Coordinator for North & Central Vancouver Island, is among local experts consulting on the project, which is slated for release this spring. For Sandie, collaborating with the Society over the years has been exciting and rewarding, particularly because of shared values and philosophy.
“The Society itself and the wonderful people there are so responsive. They’re always at the other end of a phone call and there to support any initiative we bring to them. It’s been an amazing working relationship.”
Walk with Sandie at the North Island (Courtenay) Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer's on Sunday, May 6. Together, we make memories matter.