COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in the B.C. Interior, and Interior Health reports that all residents of long-term care and extended living have now received their first inoculation. It means that many of our most vulnerable residents affected by dementia have been vaccinated, but challenges surrounding physical distancing protocols and new regulations about visits are ongoing.
These changes can affect family dynamics when it comes to dementia. Anyone navigating the challenges surrounding a family member with dementia can learn strategies to help them at a free one-hour webinar from the Alzheimer Society of B.C. at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10. “Family dynamics in dementia caregiving” is hosted by registered social worker and psychotherapist Jodie McDonald, who will provide ways to set boundaries and initiate difficult conversations with family members.
As a caregiver, “drawing the line” with family members can be uncomfortable and difficult, especially when there are conflicting perceptions regarding the best care for people living with dementia. During these unprecedented times, it is important that the needs of both the caregivers and people living with dementia are being addressed. Effective caregiving requires regular communication, boundaries, and involving others to help. Here are some suggestions:
· Plan and know your limits: When initiating a conversation about navigating new care dynamics, a vital step is to prepare what to discuss. With emotionally charged conversations surrounding care, it is especially important to reflect and identify your own limits.
· Discuss options and boundaries openly: Keep in mind the needs of both the individuals receiving and providing care. Depending on the progression of one’s dementia, there may be different levels of ability. However, to the extent possible, ensure the person living with dementia is involved.
· Establish roles and responsibilities: An established and consistent routine can be reassuring for everyone. More clarity and division of responsibilities is beneficial to ensure the best possible care can be given.
· Find support: Remember, you are never alone. Having a support network and care team is beneficial for both caregivers and people living with dementia. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in caregiving within families, but there are virtual methods available to include other individuals or professionals in the conversation, if appropriate.
In addition to “Family dynamics in dementia caregiving”, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. has other free webinars coming up. They include:
”What is dementia?” (Feb. 3, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia affects the individual’s brain and behaviour, as well as the disease’s impact on family.
”Deciphering research headlines” (Feb. 17, 2 p.m.): Increase your research literacy, and learn how to go beyond news headlines and evaluate if a source is credible.
This webinar will also cover the most frequently asked questions about dementia research.
”Focus on behaviour: Bathing and hygiene” (Feb. 24, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia affects bathing and hygiene and explore strategies for managing these changes.
To register for any of these webinars, or to access free recorded webinars, visit http://bit.ly/3iMmWAM.