Action plan helps families with long-distance caregiving

Caring for a person with dementia from a long distance presents many challenges for Williams Lake residents.

  • Nov. 4, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Caring for a person with dementia from a long distance presents many challenges for Williams Lake residents.“It is important to develop a plan of action,” says Tara Hildebrand, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s regional support and education co-ordinator.

Caregivers should take some basic steps before visiting the person with dementia, she says, to create a plan that best meets their loved one’s needs.

“Talk to family members, friends, neighbours, their physician, health agencies and other people who are in contact with the person,” Hildebrand says.

The society’s handout, Assessing the Needs of the Person with Dementia, is available online at www.alzheimerbc.org.

Caregivers should identify local services needed and make appointments with service providers.“Communicate clearly what you are hoping to achieve. Be prepared with questions you would like to have answered, and the services you are seeking.“

If possible, send an e-mail prior to the appointment.

Hildebrand says caregivers should divide the responsibilities of care with other family members, whenever possible. Then communicate regularly with all individuals who are helping with the person with dementia’s care.

More suggestions and information on long-distance caregiving are available to Williams Lake residents at the free meetings of the society’s family caregiver support group. It meets on the first and third Thursday mornings of each month at the Williams Lake Senior Village Library. Contact Hildebrand toll-free at 1-800-886-6946 or thildebrand@alzheimerbc.org for more details.

The support group serves as a place to exchange information, support and friendship with others whose lives are affected by dementia.

A forum for sharing practical tips and strategies for coping with the many changes connected with the disease, it also provides an opportunity to decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness, and to find a positive outlook on things without being misunderstood.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, visit the society website at www.alzheimerbc.org.