Newsletter January 2010

Now that the holidays are over, it is a good time to reflect on the time you spent together with your family. Did you find your loved one was a little more confused? Did you find expired food in the fridge or blackened cooking pots? Were you comfortable in the car with them driving? Did the house seem unkempt?

Make difficult conversations about care, finances and housing easier

Manage services and navigate health care, and home systems effectively

Manage elder care crises when they arise to reduce disruption, reduce future stress and demonstrate you care.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness month and the recently released report Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society” illustrates that dementia, a crippling community of diseases, will more than double within the next 30 years.  One in three adults over age 85 will develop dementia and will require 24 hour care.

The report provides the economic burden in broad terms, but what does this mean for the family member caring for someone with a dementia?

The report identifies that on average family caregivers spend 7.4 hours daily providing what I would refer to as ‘direct’ caregiving activities.  What about the other 16.6 hours?  Is the individual left alone for the remainder of the day?  Once the disease has progressed and the individual is no longer safe on their own, then supervision is needed for the duration.  Many family caregivers attempt to provide the care themselves and this can lead to a myriad of issues, such as loss of income, loss of self and caregiver burnout which can cause medical complications and breakdown of the caregiving relationship.  While respite is a critical component of the caregiving dyad, the financial costs can be high.  Agency purchased care can range between $20.00- $25.00 per hour and over a 24-hour period, can cost $500.00 per day, which is simply not affordable.

The Live in sponsorship program through HRDC provides care for 44-47 hours per week.  While there are 168 hours in a week, this leaves much unaccounted and alone time.  Technology advances have included video monitors, robotic devices, telephone reminder systems, all which have their place but they need to part of a comprehensive caregiving program.

Our current health care system cannot meet our needs adequately.  Caring partnerships are needed.

One of the recommendations includes assigning a ‘system navigator/case manager’ to provide care coordination.  Our Elder Caring team has been providing this service for years and the families we work with continued to see the benefits of having a geriatric care manager work on their behalf to navigate the system. We applaud the National Dementia Strategy and wholeheartedly agree that ‘inaction is not an option’.  To download the executive summary or full article click READ MORE.

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