Shelley Scott, executive director, Flamborough Informations and Community Services
January is Alzheimer’s Month. To mark this month-long awareness campaign, we’d like to pay tribute to all the people who live with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as those who strive to make the lives of people with Alzheimer’s better, including all the caregivers who love and dedicate their time helping their loved ones. Thank you for your very special contributions.
No matter how much you love someone and want to help them, long-term care is complex and often frustrating. To be a ‘good’ caregiver, it is very important that we recognize our own needs and the things that make life good. A healthy, happy caregiver whose frustration levels are minimized is better able to cope.
Isolation is common when caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s. As the behaviour and/or mood of a person becomes unpredictable, it can seem easier to avoid going out. But getting out will help promote happiness, better sleep patterns and health. You want to maintain the dignity of your loved one but just because they have Alzheimer’s does not mean they, or you, cease to be part of society.
Alzheimer’s and caregiver’s respite care, from friends, family, volunteer organizations, professional caregivers in the community or care homes, can provide you with valuable time for yourself. Maintaining your individualism through work or leisure can make such a difference to the care you provide. It lessens your frustration and you will find you are more able to cope.
You should also make sure to know how to maximize your personal finances to help care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. You may qualify for tax incentives and different health insurance options. More information on these is available by contacting the local government office.
Remember, you can only do so much and you can only do your best.
If in need of support, please consider counselling, therapy or support groups that can offer long-term and probably more effective practical and emotional support.
Our local Alzheimer’s Society offers many resources that you and other caregivers can access. Call 905-529-7030 for more information on the supports available.
Submitted by Shelley Scott at Flamborough Information and Community Services, 905-689-7880.