Caring for a person with dementia from a long distance presents many challenges.
"It is important to develop a plan of action," says Katherine Guildbride, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.'s First Link coordinator for the North Fraser area.
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 Guildbride.
The society's handout, Assessing the Needs of the Person with Dementia, is an easy guide and is available online at www.alzheimerbc. org.
Guildbride says caregivers should also 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 before the appointment.
Caregivers should divide the responsibilities of care with other family members, whenever possible. Then communicate regularly with all individuals who are assisting.
More suggestions and information on long-distance caregiving are available at the free meetings of the society's local support group. For information on meeting times and locations, contact Guildbride at 604-298-0780 or firstname.lastname@example.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.
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