Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 30, 2001
Reach out to those with Alzheimers — Paré
RED DEER — The founder of a unique training program is urging CWL members to reach out to seniors with Alzheimer's disease on May 20.
"Seniors that are voiceless and vulnerable are your love story and my love story," Micheline Paré of Calgary told the Edmonton archdiocesan convention of the Catholic Women's League April 21.
"On May 20, I hope you find a way to spoil a senior who is voiceless," Paré told 260 people at the convention. May 20 is the National Day of Compassion.
Paré is founder of the Maria Labrecque Training and Consultation Centre.
She set up the centre seven years ago when her father and her friend Labrecque, a former nursing home administrator, were hospitalized with Alzheimer's.
While Paré witnessed "beautiful, compassionate caregivers" looking after her father and friend, others were not as attuned to the needs of people with the disease.
"I started the centre because I saw abuse and went home at night wondering what will happen to my loved one," she said.
Since then, the Labrecque Centre has graduated more than 100 people trained with a compassionate approach in a 16-week program for geriatric nursing care attendants.
Paré expects to expand the program to Red Deer and Edmonton in the fall and hopes to soon build a facility for Alzheimer's patients near Sylvan Lake.
The centre would include a mural constructed out of the 15,000 flowers Labrecque has coloured since she became institutionalized.
Paré's father has died and Labrecque no longer recognizes her friend, but does feel her face when she comes to visit.
People with Alzheimer's "need to love and to be loved," Paré said. "They die of loneliness before they die of their illness."
"They still need to belong, not to a facility, but to a caregiver's heart."
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