Dementia video explores grieving process of caregivers

Grief, Loss and Dementia: Caregivers share their journey. It premieres Jan. 30.

Tony Lobbezoo sometimes thinks he’s in a hotel, instead of a care facility for patients with dementia.

When his wife Cindy comes to visit, he has asked her:

“Next time you rent this place, you make sure it has a double bed,” Cindy Lazaruk recalls, laughing.

He’s also asked her to marry him, forgetting that of course, he already has. It was both sweet and sad.

“His poor brain; He knows that marriage means together,” said Lazaruk.

She said she tries to find the humour, but her situation is far from funny.

Lazaruk was only 50 when her husband was diagnosed with dementia, five years ago. Until last year, she couldn’t talk to anyone about it without crying.

At first, she felt angry, and frustrated and lonely. It was a counsellor, however, who made her understand she was going through grief.

Lazaruk is one of a handful of Victoria residents who have shared her story in a new locally-produced documentary, called Grief, Loss and Dementia: Caregivers share their journey. It premieres Monday (Jan. 30).

Grieving for a loved one with dementia differs from grieving the death of a loved one in two main ways, said counsellor Betty Andersen.

“The grief is not acknowledged … by the world and its often not acknowledged by the person themselves,” said Andersen, who also appears in the film.

Second, the grieving goes on a long time. “There can be loss, after loss, after loss,” she said.

“They’re spending energy grieving and they’re spending energy caregiving … so they can arrive at the end of a journey totally depleted.”

Sherry Lepage directed the film, funded mostly by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

The movie mostly interviews caregivers because they “are really the experts,” Lepage said. “I think that validates peoples’ feelings … (and helps them) to understand their emotional upheaval.”

The DVD, she said, was made to reach people who can’t attend a support group.

Lazaruk had her own difficulties.

Unlike most dementia caregivers who are older, she still works.

“We managed to put together a support group to be in the evening for people that are working during the day and have spouses that are young,” she said. “The word gets out and there’s about five or six of us in our group now.”

Mark your calendar

Grief, Loss and Dementia, Caregivers share their journeys will be screened Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eric Martin Theatre in the 1900 block of Fort St., as part of the Movie Monday series. For more information:

Did you know?

• More than 70,000 people in B.C. are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, of which 10,000 are under the age of 65

Just Posted

More than 900 new units planned for Langford Lake development

Council still has to sign-off on rezoning application

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

UPDATE: Crash knocks out power to parts of Saanich

Power outage results in stores at Uptown being closed Saturday morning

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

EDITORIAL: It’s time to change the sexual assault conversation

The words “Me Too” are taking social media by storm this week,… Continue reading

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Event puts pets in the picture for Halloween

Pets West holding Halloween party Oct. 29 at its Broadmead Village location

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read