"Empowering people to change their health behaviours.”

Meet the McNabbs

Bill and Sylvia McNabb have been married for 52 years. They met on a blind date when Sylvia was in nursing school and Bill worked for the family appliance business; a business first owned by his father, then Bill and now his brother. Bill and Sylvia have two children, two grandchildren and one on the way.McNabb SM

Bill is proud to say he and Sylvia live on the same street where he spent his childhood. They know all the neighbours, and when Bill is out sitting on the front porch he enjoys many visitors stopping to chat. In fact, their neighbour is the first person on their emergency call list.

Bill suffered a stroke in April 2015 and has been left with very little short term memory. Life became more challenging after the stroke  as Bill was then diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

As his primary caregiver, Sylvia had been having a difficult time coping with the changes in Bill. During a Stroke Survivors Support Group with March of Dimes she was told about the free Central East LHIN Self-Management Program’s Powerful Tools for Caregivers Workshop, and registered to attend.

After attending these free workshop sessions, I now know how to handle stressful situations much better using tools I have learned. The most important tools I have learned are the "I" messages instead of using the word "you". This has diffused many situations that would have otherwise had me raising my voice, even though I know with my head that Bill cannot help his memory loss,” explained Sylvia.

“The second most important skill I have learned is the Aikido Style of Communication. I found this so useful in putting myself in my husband's shoes and imagining what it would be like trying to keep everything straight in my mind and not being able to.  Also imagining what is must be like for him being so dependent on me. It was quite a revelation to me, and made his multiple repeated questions in a day easier to deal with.”

With the new skills Sylvia learned during the Powerful Tool for Caregivers Workshop, the McNabb house is now a calmer and more well-managed household.

As a result of these workshop sessions, I feel I am a more understanding and calmer caregiver. The tools I have learned make my days less stressful for both my husband and I. As a result, our daily lives go smoother in most situations.

Because of Bill’s diagnoses, it had made leaving the house difficult, but now he has found joy in watching television and letting out his artistic talents with colouring,which we proudly display throughout our home. 

These skills that we have been taught are also very useful in other situations other than caregiving. I am also very thankful to have been given the very useful Caregiver Help Book as well.  It will be an excellent reference for me after the series is finished.”

The McNabbs also receive support from the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network (GAIN) clinic, their family doctor, the VON Adult Day Program, Stroke Survivors Group and Aphasia Group with March of Dimes, and Alzheimer’s Society.

“I would stress very strongly how important the Powerful Tools for Caregivers has been to those of us that have this very huge and sometimes overwhelming responsibility of being totally responsible for the care of another person. I cannot recommend this series of workshops highly enough.”

For more information on the Central East LHIN Self-Management Program or to register for a workshop, please  visit www.healthylifeworkshop.ca, e-mail info@healthylifeworkshop.ca or call 1-866-971-5545.


  • The Central East LHIN Self-Management Program:
    • empowers people to change their health behaviours by developing new skills and tools to break the cycle of symptoms that can result from having chronic health conditions
    • encourages health care professionals to adopt additional techniques and strategies that can be used in clinical practice to support patients in making healthy lifestyle  changes
    • supports family caregivers in providing them with tools and strategies to better manage their own health while taking on the unique challenges of being  a caregiver
    • The Central East LHIN Self-Management Program directly supports two of the four LHIN’s strategic aims detailed in the LHIN’s Integrated Health Service Plan Vascular Health and Seniors.
    • The Self-Management Program offers FREE workshops across the Central East LHIN. Workshops for patients/caregivers include: Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain, Living a Healthy Life with Diabetes, Getting the Most from your Healthcare Appointment, and Powerful Tools for Caregivers.

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