Joined by her daughter Emily (right) and the rest of their family, Kathy Collins hopes to raise awareness about early onset dementia. (Submitted)

Cowichan sisters go viral on TikTok for early onset dementia awareness efforts

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She was 57 at the time.

With her parents Margaret and John, and her sister Jean by her side, caring for her daily, as well as her daughter Emily also collaboratively involved in her care, Kathy has a good solid support network here in the Cowichan Valley.

She and Jean also have a little secret. They’ve got almost 80,000 TikTok followers.

The sisters’ videos are a light-hearted, funny, and raw look at life with early-onset dementia and they will continue until Kathy’s capacities diminish.

“We feel that Kathy has an important story to share with others around this prevalent diagnosis and the best ways to support families who are coping with it,” said Jean.

The family can thank COVID-19 for getting them hooked on the social media megalith that is TikTok.

“In the midst of pandemic and being bored out of our minds, we downloaded the TikTok app,” Jean added. “We started making a few videos about Alzheimer’s and…she went viral! People resonated with Kathy and her account has swelled to almost 80,000 followers.”

While the sisters were pleased to be getting such a big audience to raise some awareness about Alzheimer’s, they did not expect what came next.

“Recently, a TikTok exploded on the app — over five million views — of a family yelling, swearing and mocking a family member with Alzheimer’s,” Jean said.

What’s more, her sister Kathy stumbled across the post and was very upset by it.

“We both truly feel that when people know better, they DO better,” Jean said. “Kathy’s mission is to spread awareness and support for people and their families who are struggling with this dreaded diagnosis.”

Jean said caring for a person with dementia is not at all easy, so she feels for the people in the viral video.

“God bless them,” she added. “I’m sure they love their mom and they’re doing their best, but they’re doing it wrong.”

Given Cowichan is a small community and the already limited resources are further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, “for the most part, unless someone’s in long term care, for the most part people are being cared for by family members.” Jean said.

If the dynamic duo can have one message sink in, it’s this: “When you’re interacting with people with dementia, it’s to keep things calm and cool and contented.”

Get to know Kathy and Jean by visiting https://www.tiktok.com/@thekathyproject. You don’t need a TikTok account to view their page.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alzheimer's diseasecowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read