Taking action for long-distance caregiving

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

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

“It is important to develop a plan of action,” says Jillian Armit, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s regional support and education coordinator.

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,” says Armit.

The Society’s handout, Assessing the Needs of the Person with Dementia, is an easy guide and 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.

Armit 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 Chilliwack residents at the free meetings of the Society’s two local support groups.

For information on meeting times and locations, contact Armit at 604-702-4603 or jarmit@alzheimerbc.org

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.