Navigating Healthcare Services

When we ask caregivers what could make their caregiving journeys easier, assistance with navigating healthcare services is one of the most common responses we hear. Caregivers want to know what services are available, what’s suitable for their loved one, how these services work together, and when the best time to access them is. Essentially, they want to know how to use healthcare services to best support their loved one.

It sounds like a simple request, but navigating healthcare services can be challenging. The good news is there are lots of services out there to support your loved one, and the bad news is that sometimes you might not know about them, or if or when they’re appropriate for your spouse’s health needs. These questions can leave a lot of caregivers feeling frustrated, uncertain, and lost.

So, what can you do to ease the challenges of navigating health care services? While there’s no bullet proof answer, we have some suggestions that can greatly help.

  1. Make a list. When a question pops in to your mind, write it down, and take it with you to your loved one’s next doctor’s appointment. Write down the answers during the appointments so you don’t forget and you’re able to refer to what you’ve learned after. Doctor’s appointments can be so rushed, and it’s very common for people to leave wishing they’d asked about something that slipped their mind. Making and keeping a list can be very helpful to prevent this from happening.
  2. Do some research. Find out about the roles that different healthcare providers play so that you’re better able to direct your questions to the most helpful person. If someone has suggested an alternative therapy or some extra help such as a overnight respite or physiotherapy, spend some time reading about how those services work, and write down your questions.
  3. Ask questions. Spend some time with your loved one discussing their concerns and queries and yours, and then be prepared to ask questions. If you’re considering accessing respite services, there will likely be facility tours available to you and your care partner. If you’re connecting with a new health care provider, an intake appointment is a great time to ask any questions you might have about how their services will work with others your spouse is currently accessing. Make sure to also ask the pharmacist any questions you might have about medication interactions or potential side effects from a new prescription.

NSCR’s Caregiver Support Program is offering a free workshop all about Navigating Healthcare Services on Wednesday, January 16th 2019 from 1:30-3PM at Silver Harbour Activity Centre (144 22nd Street, N. Vancouver). The workshop will cover: home and community care, adult day programs, mental health services, residential care options, palliative care services, and preventing caregiver burnout. If you’d like to learn more about navigating the healthcare system, this is a wonderful opportunity. To register or ask questions, email Karyn:

What has helped you when it comes to navigating healthcare services with your care partner? We’d love to read your tips in our comments!

Cassandra Van Dyck


Resource Review: Caregiver Chat Forums

It is so common these days for us to turn to the internet when we have questions about something, and it’s becoming increasingly common to get support from online communities when we need it as well. Chances are, you’ve been invited in to at least one Facebook discussion group about anything from dogs to knitting. Connecting with people online who share interests or life challenges can be comforting, and for some it can feel like a lifeline.

Why You’d Access a Caregiver Chat Forum

When you are in the throes of your caregiving role, having someone to reach out to when you need to talk is crucial. Being able to unload your frustrations or sadness can help you work through what you’re going through, so you can take better care of yourself and be more present with your loved one. Finding the people to speak to, however, can be challenging. You might feel that it’s hard to speak with people in your life about caregiving who aren’t caregivers themselves, or perhaps you’re worried about talking to someone too much about what you’re going through. Time is also an obstacle. It can be easier to speak with someone quickly online when you need to vent or get some advice that it can be to get to a support group or call someone on the phone. Connecting with other caregivers in online chat forums can be a wonderful way to hear other people’s stories and perspectives, and also to unload what you’re going through and get comfort or advice. 

The Benefits

Online forums allow you to participate at your comfort level. You can simply browse the topics and read the suggestions, or you can post replies or a comment for feedback. Some forums allow you to be anonymous. You can connect with other caregivers who have no idea who you are, which might prevent bias from other participants. Forums that are not anonymous, such as any you’d find on Facebook, could help you to create deeper connections with other caregivers, which could lead to in-person meet-ups if it’s something you’re open to. 

The Risks

There are a few things to consider if you’re interested in participating in online chat forums. The first is that anything you write can live forever on the internet. Even if you are in a private group on Facebook and delete your posts, screen shots can be taken and shared with whoever the user wants to share them with. This is not meant to scare people away from using online chat forums, but it is a reminder to be mindful about what you post – whether it’s personal information about yourself and your family, or comments on another person’s posts. The second thing to think about, is that because of the anonymity (or assumed anonymity) of these groups, people will sometimes write things that may not be the most supportive or helpful, and could even be hurtful. People are also sharing their opinions and experiences, so keep in mind that while their experiences may have been true for them, the same experiences might effect you or your loved one in very different ways. For example, let’s say you ask a forum about how their loved one was effected by a certain medication. Someone might respond by saying, “It was awful! They were so sick and didn’t act like themselves. No one should ever be put on this medication.” Perhaps that post doesn’t get any other comments, so that is the only perspective you’re left with. You might now feel terrified about the medication your care partner has been prescribed, when before you only felt curious. What you don’t know, however, is how many other people have responded to the medication, or what else was going on for this particular person’s spouse when they started taking the medication. 

Chat Forum Suggestions

Facebook: Search for “Caregiver Support Group” in the search bar and you will get a number of group suggestions. You can request to be added, and see if the group’s a good fit for you. If at any time you don’t feel comfortable or feel the group is too large/small, you can simply leave the group and look for another. Note: You must be a Facebook user to use Facebook groups. 

Aging Care Caregiving Forum: This forum allows you to post questions anonymously. Other users can post replies. 

Caregiver Action Network: You must sign up for an account, but you can post anonymously to other caregivers. 

The Caregiver Space: Read articles from other caregivers, or join their Facebook conversation group. 

Do you participate in any caregiver online forums? What has the experience been like for you? We’d love to hear from you in our comments! 

Cassandra Van Dyck

Emotional First Aid for Caregivers: SOS Insomnia By Calm Pond

Emotional First aid

Lately I’ve been going through a period of insomnia, but it’s getting better, slowly. Rather than rely on pills, I took an online course on insomnia (cbt-i, see previous post ), and learned about something called a ‘sleep window’. A sleep window is the optimal time during which you will fall asleep. For me, this was 2:00 am. But what to do until then?
I began getting creative. A book I read (Jennifer Hallissy ‘The Write Start : A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, From Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories’ 2010) had a recipe for playdough and I thought, why not? Here is the recipe:

No Fail Playdough

1 cup warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar (look for it in the baking aisle)
2 Tbsp veg oil
Combine the above ingredients. Wait till mixture cools a bit. Mix in 2-3 cups of white flour (as much as you need to make a firm dough, but don’t add too much at once). You can divide the dough into balls and colour it with food colouring. Stores in a tightly covered container in the fridge for 6 months. Halve the recipe if you do not want such a large quantity of dough. It works just fine.
Bake your creations at 275 degrees F. The time they need to bake varies on size of creation.


I found that as I kneaded the dough, I felt more relaxed. Karyn Davies of NSCR says this is due to the fact that as you knead, the left and right hemispheres of the brain harmonize. This is an intriguing idea. I did find that if I engaged in a creative activity, I felt more relaxed and did, eventually fall asleep.
It’s not the perfect cure but it sure beats staying up all night.
In conclusion, I came up with a little rhyme:
We all need to be needed,
We all need to knead.
May you sleep the sleep of the just tonight,

Calm Pond

Visualizations: A Tool for Caregivers


Years ago, during a counselling session, I was asked to imagine myself in a place that I felt completely at ease and safe. I pictured myself floating on Kalamalka Lake in the Okanagon, on a hot summer’s day near a beach that was steps away from my dad’s old home. Just thinking about it, I can feel the water on my skin, the hot sun on my face, and I can hear the wind rustling the branches of the willow tree that shaded the shoreline. Returning to this place in my mind is one of the tools I often use when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I have other visualizations that are useful in different situations, too. When I feel nervous about speaking up about something that I don’t feel is right, I visualize a team of my most supportive friends and family standing behind me. If I’m feeling really stuck in a situation, I picture someone that has been through something similar, and I try to embody their strength, or humour, or candour.

Being able to use visualizations can be helpful on your caregiving journey, when there’s often so much uncertainty, grief, and stress. Visualizations can help caregivers to temporarily escape stress by imagining a more peaceful environment, or they can help you to picture a different way to get through a challenging situation.

Maybe you need to speak with a doctor about a concern you have, but you’re terrified to bring up the topic for fear of the response. You’re feeling scared and anxious. Those feelings are valid, and should not be pushed aside or dismissed, but if they’re stopping you from speaking with your doctor and getting the answers you need, you might need another way to handle the tough feelings that are coming up for you. Think of a time when you were scared and anxious about doing something, but you found some courage, and did it anyways. Now, take that energy and approach your doctor. If you can’t think of  an example, visualize someone that you know to be calm and resilient, and imagine yourself acting the same way.

There are numerous ways to use visualizations. If you’d like to learn more about how you can use them in your caregiving role, take a look at these resources:

Visualization and Guided Imagery Techniques for Stress Reduction

Take a Break: 3 Minute Visualization

Visualization Of Joy

Creating A Container for Grief  (scroll to the end for a visualization that helps work through grief) 

Representation Agreements: More than just Healthcare


The advent of new medical technologies. The ability to preserve life. The changing views regarding euthanasia.  The above reflects the increasing importance of making sure that your wishes regarding your care are followed. The Representation Agreement is a document that gives you the opportunity to do just that – but what is a representation agreement?

A representation agreement is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to manage your healthcare and your personal care only if you are no longer capable of managing these areas of your life on your own. For this document to come into effect, your incapacity will generally be determined through a medical assessment performed by your treating physician (i.e. while you still have the ability to make your own decisions, no one can override your own healthcare and personal care choices). 

Importantly, a representation agreement will sometimes contain your wishes for your end-of-life care which are legally binding on your representatives. This means that your representatives will have no choice but to follow your carefully chosen wishes that you have made in advance. At times, this can be a relief to your loved ones as it removes the onus of having to make a potentially difficult decision from them. Common end-of-life care wishes include: whether to resuscitate you where your death is imminent; whether to provide you with pain medication although it may hasten your death and whether to remove you from life support if it is the opinion of doctors that you are permanently unconscious. The following are common questions regarding representation agreements:

Common Question #1: What if I do not have a representation agreement?

Where a person is incapacitated and does not have a representation agreement, the law in British Columbia stipulates that medical professionals will contact a prioritized list of people – spouse, adult children, parents, siblings and eventually a close friend — until they find someone capable and available to consent to your healthcare. The person who is capable and available becomes the Temporary Substitute Decision-Maker (TSDM) of the incapacitated person and has the authority to make decisions on a case-by-case manner. The types of decisions the TSDM will be asked to make will range from whether they consent to minor surgery on your behalf to whether you should be kept alive by artificial means. 

Common Question #2: Why do I need a representation agreement if my next-of-kin makes healthcare decisions for me anyways?

The law draws a line between “healthcare” and “personal care”. While the former includes choices such as surgery, heroic measures, life-saving treatment and potentially euthanasia, the latter includes choices such as where you ultimately live, who you live with and what you eat. Importantly, only persons given authority under a representation agreement are permitted to make “personal care” decisions. Therefore, without a representation agreement, your loved ones could be placed in an array of difficult situations where they cannot make fundamental choices regarding your care.  For example, elderly parents may be placed in separate care facilities due to space restraints and without a representation agreement, their adult children may have to seek permission from social workers and medical administrators for permission to relocate them. Whereas, if the parents had named their children within a representation agreement, the children would then have complete control to choose where their parents live. 

A representation agreement can also give your representatives the right to access your medical and financial records. Without one, your loved ones may have a difficult time obtaining these crucial records that are pertinent to making decisions on your behalf. For example, it may give them limited access to your banking and tax information to determine whether you are eligible for admission into certain provincially managed care facilities.  

With its broad discretion to make both healthcare and personal care decisions, a representation agreement is a powerful tool that deals with much more than just healthcare. Speak with your estate planning/incapacity planning expert today to see if it is the right document for you. 


Wills-Lawyer    Jeremy Wong is an estate planning lawyer at Westcoast Wills & Estates.


Respecting the Heart

When I reflect on my time care giving, more “case management”, for my parents or observe family and friends in a similar role, the one consistent lesson for me is “respecting the heart”.  That seems to be the phrase that captures what I have learned and feel as time has passed and the experiences are internalized.

For my own experience with my parents, this was demonstrated by my father.  Even though he was years older than his partner, he was cognitively and physically capable and did not need to be in a care facility.  I suggested that he did not need to leave his cherished home on the Gulf Islands but rather could be near to her and visit.  He would not hear of this and, even though it likely took years off his health and life to be in institutional care, he had to follow his heart and his heart was with her.

Managing care meant contending with a variety of perspectives from siblings, both in how to proceed and in the emotional responses to dementia and declining health.  It appeared to me that emotions such as grief and helplessness seemed to limit engagement and support. Though I did not speak up much at the time, I had strong views then about what I felt was appropriate or not.  My gut, and some helpful resources, told me that sibling cooperation took priority over my views.  In retrospect, I am more empathetic to individuals and how they must protect their heart in how they perceive care and interact as care givers with loved ones. I see this too as I observe friends and family deal with this in different ways.  I might not agree but have to respect it. It makes me think back to ways I tried to protect and cope myself: varying visiting times so as not to create an expectation and possible disappointment, modifying explanations of my schedule, and needing essential time alone in transition between visits and other demands in my life.


It is hard sometimes when the person needing care is cognitively competent and chooses a situation of risk, such as being physically frail but refusing needed assistance, fully knowing the possible consequences.  It is tempting to want to take control and minimize or eliminate that risk.  However, sometimes caregivers just need to, with great difficulty, step back and respect the choice that a loved one they have has made.  Often the person has they have knowingly made this choice as one of control and dignity of self over safety or even longevity.

I have watched a dear friend care for his partner who has early onset dementia.  He has chosen years of personal care, finely tuned travel, and difficult decisions.  I have seen this bring both the joy and stress of added time together.  The clear message being that his heart dictated his path and he would not have chosen any other way for as long as this was possible.

“Respect for the heart”.  It can be admirable, a heartache, hard to observe, and difficult to accept but it might too, be the “heart” of the situation or decision and, if so, must be considered and acknowledged.

-June Maynard
Former Caregiver


Scam Prevention for Seniors


One day this past spring, I answered a call from an unfamiliar, long-distance phone number. On the other end of the line was a man in a very abrupt voice telling me that there was an issue with my tax return and I owed the government of Canada money. He told me that if I did not pay the money within the next 24 hours that I would be arrested and charged. I furrowed my brow, and hung up the phone. I knew enough about scams to realize this was one straight away. I knew that the Canadian government would never call me to tell me I’d be arrested if I didn’t pay them money within 24 hours. But still, I was a bit rattled. Having anyone call you and threaten your arrest, no matter how innocent you may be, is unsettling. I couldn’t help but think about vulnerable adults out there who may receive similar phone calls and not be able to discern their validity.

Knowing how to protect yourself and your loved one from scams is important. It can prevent you from losing great sums of money, and perhaps even your identity. Con-artists are not always as transparent as the man who phoned me this past spring – they can be quite sneaky and hard to recognise. Educating yourself and your loved one on the ways you might be targeted can help you and your loved one stay safe.

Some Types of Scams

Grandparent scams (also called grandchild scams) are common scams that target seniors. These scams usually involve a phone call from someone who pretends to be your grandchild. If you get a call like this, be prepared: the scammer may already know your grandchild’s name and what your grandchild calls you (for example, a nickname like Nona or Grampy).

Acting as your grandchild, the scammer claims to be in trouble and asks for your help. The scammer may try to convince you that your grandchild was in a car accident or has been arrested. You may be asked to wire money right away, without telling anyone.What to do: If you receive a call like this, DON’T wire the money or give the caller any further information. Hang up and call your grandchild, or another family member, to find out what’s really going on. Then report the scam to:

Charity Scams: Because many seniors donate to charity, older people are often the targets of charity scams. Legitimate organizations may ask for donations in person, over the phone, by mail or via email. Unfortunately, many scams operate this way as well. It can be hard to tell the difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You don’t have to make a donation. Don’t let anyone pressure you. If you’re not sure or feel uncomfortable, just say, “No thanks, I’m not interested.” A legitimate organization will respect your wishes.
  • Be assertive. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
  • Never send cash, and don’t give your personal information, social insurance number, credit card, or banking information to a stranger.
  • If you want to support a particular organization, consider planned giving. You can decide how much you can afford to give, and contact the organization directly to set up a monthly or one-time donation.

Not all non-profit organizations are registered charities. If you donate to an organization that is not a registered charity, you won’t get a receipt for income tax purposes.


Use the Charities Listings to confirm whether a charity is registered under the Income Tax Act and is therefore eligible to issue official donation receipts; view a charity’s contact information; and view a charity’s Registered Charity Information Return, which includes:financial information (assets, liabilities, income, and expenditures); and activities.

CRA Scam: A fraudster will call you claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, saying that there is a problem with your taxes and that you owe money. They may say that there is a warrant for your arrest or that you are facing deportation. They demand payment to cancel the warrant or stop deportation proceedings. You are instructed to buy pre-paid gift cards or iTunes cards, and then tell them the codes over the phone.The CRA will never call you threatening arrest or deportation or demanding payment by credit card, pre-paid gift cards or iTunes cards.

Romance Scams – Many seniors have turned to the internet looking for companionship, only to be victimized by fraudsters. They will “meet” someone online who seems very nice and decent, and will develop strong feelings for that person based on email correspondence and photos the fraudster has exchanged with them. Invariably, the fraudster will ask for money as they need an emergency loan to secure a business deal or get them out of trouble, and they will promise quick repayment once the crisis passes. Unfortunately, many seniors have lost significant sums of money, which cannot be recovered from fraudsters who can’t be located or identified.

Email phishing – You will receive an email that appears to be from a well-known Canadian bank asking you to confirm your personal details and account information. This is always a scam. No reputable business or bank will send you emails asking you to confirm information they already have. Fraudsters are trying to get this information from you in order to steal your identity and commit fraud in your name.

For more information on scams, visit VPD, BC Gov, or get up-to-date information on the latest scams from the Better Business Bureau.

Sources: VPD, BC Gov

Cassandra Van Dyck

How to Laugh Away Your Stress


Think about a time when you’ve had the giggles. You know… that feeling you get when it seems like no matter what you do, you can’t stop laughing. Your eyes might water and your cheeks and belly might hurt from laughing so hard. That kind of joy seems to wash all of the pain away – if only temporarily. These bouts of laughter are usually unplanned, but what if you could schedule them in to your week? Enter: Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga was created in 1995 in India by Dr. Madan Kataria, who wanted to create an alternative treatment for his patients suffering from stress-related illnesses. This very unique type of yoga invites participants to laugh through exercises, stretches, games and activities. Watch the video below for a sample class.


Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat offers free Laughter Yoga classes on the fourth Monday of every month, from 6-6:30PM at the Centre for Mindfulness Canada (CFMC). It is open to everyone. To register, visit Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat. 



How to be a Long-Distance Caregiver (& Move a Family Member)


How does one provide care for a loved one who lives long-distance, in this case 3,500 km away?  That question came to a head for me a few weeks ago, when my mother, who has been becoming increasingly immobile and unsafe in her home, for many months and perhaps years, asked for my help.

I was fortunate to be able to say, ‘yes’.   I made plans for my family in my absence, and flew to Ontario to be with my mother for a few days.  I knew that this journey was going to end with my mother moving into an assisted living residence.

You can care give from afar by providing more than a physical presence. In caring for my mother, this has meant regular phone calls, to learn what was really going on for her, and how it affected her activities of daily living, and conference calls with my brothers to share information and make plans for future care.

For a few years now, my mom and the large part of the burden for her care has fallen on my two brothers, who live close by.  I am very fortunate that they are near, but they also need my support, and perhaps I too need to provide more support, to assuage the feelings of guilt I have had in not been able to share the load.

This is what I have learned along the journey.

As a long distance caregiver, you can provide care and emotional support from afar through phone calls and encouraging cards and notes.  You can help arrange meals, transportation, recreation and day care programs, and coordinate rides with family and friends to appointments or social events.  You can update family and friends on the status of your loved one.  I found that this eased the burden on my brothers, and was fulfilling, as it allowed me to use the skills I have developed in communication, empathy, and compassion.  You can also help with the household finances, bill-paying, and insurance benefits and claims.  On the care side of things, you can help arrange for housekeepers, personal support workers, home health care aids, friendly visitors, and other health care professionals to be brought in.  In essence, you can help your loved one navigate the system by providing them with local information and resources, and you also can enlist the help of family and friends.

In my instance, this help came from a gentle and patient family member, in whose company my mother did not feel judged.  The initial houseclean and haul out of garbage, recycling and items for the Salvation Army and Church Bazaar, was met with more requests for help through a dear family friend.  It was very interesting for me to watch the transformation of my mother’s behaviour, from being so attached to her home and its contents, to being accepting of change, and then asking for help, in order to ready herself, physically and emotionally, to leave her home.

When I arrived in Ontario, I saw my role as continuing with the cleaning and pack up process that had begun, while trying to make things fun, reliving memories while pouring over old family photos, and also making new memories.  Sharing memories helped draw us together, and provided us with much needed strength and support.

My mother is almost ready to move into her new home.  She has the security of knowing that she can take weekly visits back to her town home, before it is sold, to ensure she is leaving no stone or forgotten treasure unturned, and to say goodbye, in her time and at her pace.  When we speak on the phone, she never forgets to thank me for coming, and still jokes that she ‘wore me out’.  This experience we shared, fraught with vulnerability, definitely brought my mother and me closer together.

As a wise person once said, ‘information is the best prescription and laughter really is one of the best medicines’.

By guest blogger, Kathryn Seely, former nurse, mother, daughter and caregiver

Therapeutic Touch + Cassandra’s Trip to the Morphic Field

therapeutic touch

My first introduction to Therapeutic Touch was during a Memories & More session that NSCR’s Caregiver Support program hosted a few years ago. Therapeutic Touch practitioners visited a session and offered a 15 minute treatment to caregivers who were currently supporting their loved ones’ journeys with dementia. I watched as the caregivers sat in a chair or laid down and closed their eyes. I saw the practitioners gently placing their hands on their arms, legs, and feet. It was different than watching someone get a massage. The treatment seemed calmer, gentler… if not a little ambiguous. What stuck in my mind was the shift in the caregivers’ energy after the treatment. They seemed to walk, breathe, and speak slower. Their shoulders were relaxed – like a weight had been lifted.

Fast forward three years when it’s suggested to me that I interview Therapeutic Touch practitioner Alex Jamieson to help inform more caregivers about this valuable therapy. I began my interview process as I usually do – by researching the subject to find out more. I quickly discovered that reading about Therapeutic Touch is a bit abstruse, much like witnessing a session. You know and understand that it’s a healing experience, but you’re not really sure why or how. “Therapeutic Touch is a contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices. It is an intentionally directed process of energy exchange during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process,” says the BC Therapeutic Touch Network Society. “The practitioner may apply light touch with permission during the Therapeutic Touch session or may simply move his/her hands a few inches from the body.” I was intrigued, but I wanted to learn more about how this treatment helps people heal.

Alex and I found time to speak on the phone, and I learned that Alex volunteers his time as a Therapeutic Touch practitioner entirely on a volunteer basis. (See Jamieson Bio, below). I asked Alex how he would describe Therapeutic Touch to someone who had no idea what it was. He told me that the best way to understand Therapeutic Touch was to experience it, and offered to gift a session to me. Of course, I accepted.

Alex greeted me at their front door and I noticed that I immediately felt a wash of calm come over me. We chatted for a few minutes and he showed me to their at-home treatment room. I laid down on the massage table and was covered in a warm blanket. Now, I have to break here to explain to the reader that although I had every intention of remembering each moment of the treatment, I don’t. I remember feeling gentle pressure on my shoulders, arms, legs and feet. I remember feeling resonating from Alex’s hands, though they weren’t touching. I felt very, very relaxed – more so as the treatment went on, which was only about 20 minutes in length. Near the end of the session, it felt as though my whole body was vibrating… like a tension was releasing that I didn’t even know I was holding on to. Alex came in after the session to check in with me and I explained my experience as best as I could. Alex said that when doing a body scan, he did not detect any pain or illness, but he did notice that my throat chakra seemed closed. “You’re a singer, aren’t you?” asked Alex. “Yes,” I responded. “You have to share your gift with people,” he said. Unexpectedly, I burst in to tears. How could he have known that for months prior I hadn’t been singing or writing music? It was amazing. I left feeling a little vulnerable, but also cared for and open. A healing had undoubtedly occurred.

My hope for caregivers reading this article is that you and your loved ones will experience a Therapeutic Touch session, if for nothing else than a chance to take a break and to let someone care for you.


Jamieson Bio

Alex and Brenda Jamieson have been practicing Therapeutic Touch (TT) for about 15 Years, and have also learned to utilize other modalities such as Heating Touch.  They are both comfortably retired, but still offer energy medicine sessions on a volunteer basis at Paul Sugar Palliative Centre in North Vancouver, at Evergreen House long term care residence, and elsewhere.

They first learned about the energy medicine used in the UK at churches where hands-on-healing was offered on a regular basis. After Brenda was helped by such a treatment, Alex began taking TT courses, and eventually Brenda joined in. They have many anecdotes of successful outcomes.

For example, they visited a man in St. Paul’s Hospital who had just had an operation for bowel cancer and was in extreme pain. They could feel the pain when they put their hands near his abdomen… They did a treatment and the next day he was off the morphine. “He had confirmed that it worked,” Alex explains, “but this is not magic, people can learn to heal themselves.  The energy comes from The Field, or from God, we are just channels” says Alex. “We never saw the guy with the cancer again, except we noticed him walking happily along Lonsdale one day…”

If you would like a session, Alex and Brenda recommend the following:

For more information on Therapeutic Touch, visit On the North Shore, there are free “Practice Groups” on Thursdays.

For a Healing Touch session, see: or Contact Irma Jerusa at: or see:

Paul Sugar Palliative Centre offers free energy healing sessions for caregivers and patients every Monday and Wednesday. See