Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, 60% of whom are or have been family caregivers themselves.
Alyshia Vogt has spent years working as a Registered Nurse in a hospital setting caring for seniors, she has seen first-hand how many seniors ended up in long-term care facilities and understood that preventative care and supporting families was really part of the solution. With a true passion for care, Alyshia recognized that seniors typically enjoy a greater quality of life in their own homes than in institutional settings. Alyshia’ s passion for seniors care has led her to her current career of owning and managing the local Nurse Next Door Home Care franchise. This role has allowed Alyshia the benefit of being able to make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families on a daily basis. Alyshia’ s values have also led her to become an active member of the Rotary Club of Victoria and the chairperson for the Valentine’s Ball and Silent Auction which raised funds for the Queen Alexandra Foundation. In the past Alyshia has volunteered with the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia as a workplace representative and for many years as a respite caregiver for the Alzheimer Society of Kamloops. She has come to understand that support for family caregivers is currently lacking in our society and with that knowledge. Alyshia is currently President of the board of Family Caregivers of British Columbia. Board member since 2010.
Brenda Higham has been defined over the years by her roles as a caregiver -first for four children, one who suffered a brain injury, then for family friends, and more recently for parents at end of life. Her current role is to support her granddaughter with special needs. She understands what it means to be a caregiver and the importance of this role in a caring society.
Retired from a career which culminated in the senior’s policy area of the Ministry of Health in Victoria, she has had the benefit of a diverse work experience marked by a range of innovative strategies. Early years were spent in evolving home care in rural Alberta as both a researcher and home support service coordinator. This was followed by community development work at the municipal level with a primary focus on seniors. She was then fortunate to be the manager for the first national delivery of integrated care, during its evaluation stage and through enhancement of dementia care within the C.H.O.I.C.E. program. Next she lead a partnership of over 50 organizations in delivering health services to students with special needs at a regional level. This was a cooperative effort of provincial ministries of health, education, and social services with pooled funding managed at the local level. In addition she was Executive Director of the Alberta Caregivers Association advancing their educational programs.
Brenda has a Masters of Science in Health Services Administration, a Masters of Arts in Communication and Technology, and certificates in Public Administration and Gerontology. She completed PhD level work focused on aging and caregiving.
Following the example of many of her older mentors she sees volunteering as a key aspect of supporting the community. She has been very active with the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, the Alberta Gerontological Society and other groups.
Barbra Hopkins was born and raised in Victoria and is a true member of the “sandwich generation”, helping to care for both grandchildren and aging parents. She is very aware of the challenges caregivers have covering all the bases. Barbra is an independent Financial Advisor and holds the designations of Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA) and Certified Health Specialist (CHS). She also has a certificate in Grief and Loss Counselling. Barbra is licensed through the Insurance Council of British Columbia and the Mutual Fund Dealer’s Association and specializes in being a holistic financial advisor. She comes across many stories of people who end up in a caregiving role either by choice or circumstance, most of whom are totally unprepared and many times overwhelmed with the role. Her role as their financial advisor is to help them with the financial aspects, but many times she adds the most value for them by just listening and connecting them with people and services that can help them. Board member since 2013.
Janine Hunka is the Lifeline Community representative for Philips Lifeline. She first started as a volunteer with Lifeline over 14 years ago after she found her mom in the bathroom unable to get up due to a stroke. Janine is now responsible for on-going contact with all healthcare professionals, community organizations and non-profit groups in the Gulf Islands, Greater Victoria area and Ladysmith to ensure they are kept up-to-date on the many features and benefits available to older adults and “at risk” individuals who want to live more safely and independently in their own homes. She has spoken to over 7,000 seniors and caregivers over the last 7 years about Lifeline, Falls Prevention and how you can live more safely in your own home. It has been a dream come true for Janine to live and work on Vancouver Island. She currently resides in Colwood and she recently became an avid motorcycle rider and an active mentor at the 1Up Single Family Resource Centre in Victoria. Janine says, “It is an honor and a pleasure to assist the Family Caregivers of British Columbia.” Board member since 2013.
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Debra Sheets is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, at the University of Victoria (UVic). She received her doctorate in Gerontology and Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Dr. Sheets is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).
Her research interests focus on gerontology and geriatric nursing—and in particular healthy aging, technology in home care, caregiving, and nursing education. Dr. Sheets is the UVic Site Co-Lead for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind undertaken to date, not only in Canada but around the world. The CLSA is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for at least 20 years. The study will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle, and economic aspects of people’s lives. Recently, Dr. Sheets completed a national evaluation of 14 family and informal caregiver projects for an eight million dollar initiative sponsored by the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in Maryland, USA. The purpose of the projects was to increase support for family and informal caregivers who assist older adults living in the community. D
Dr. Sheets serves on the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, Gerontology and Geriatrics in Higher Education, and the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. In 2014 she served as guest editor for a special issue on Family Caregiving for the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.