Recognizing the important work of dementia caregivers2018-07-06
Caregiving for a loved one with dementia is a responsibility that often falls to family members. According to Statistics Canada, the last Canadian census found that the majority of older people hope to age in their own homes, and that even among those 85 and older, only about a third of the population live in a community dwelling such as a retirement residence or long-term care facility. This means that the majority of older people end up remaining in their own homes, and eventually require some form of care. Dr Joel Sadavoy is an expert in caregiving who can discuss various care options for people with dementia.
A recent study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) found that “about 270,000 seniors were being cared for at home in 2015-16…with children (58 per cent) and spouses (32 per cent) most commonly taking on the role of caregiver for a loved one with dementia.” What’s more, CIHI found that dementia caregivers more often experience distress related to their caregiving role when compared with non-dementia caregivers.
The distress indicated by caregivers in the CIHI study brings awareness to a broader issue requiring attention, highlighting the demands of unpaid caregiving and the lack of supports in place for informal caregivers, many of whom are women, and many who continue to work and take care of children. But while there are moments of overwhelm in providing care, especially for people with dementia who often have complex needs, it is important to recognize that family caregivers also find positives in being able to provide this assistance, hopefully with a formal and informal network of support around them.
Recently, Canada moved forward with its commitment to creating a National Dementia Strategy, which will elevate dementia as a priority, including improving care for those with dementia and their families. Dr Samir Sinha is an expert in care for older people, a lead on Ontario’s Seniors Strategy and a knowledgeable source on dementia treatment and care.
The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing will also include several presentations on caregiving, dementia, and aging-in-place. Visit https://www.ifa2018.com/ to find out more about abstracts on these and related topics.