Trail and Rossland residents taking care of family members with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia are experiencing severe stress, new studies show.
They are among the more than two million informal caregivers across Canada, a new national survey shows, who are struggling to cope with the impacts of caregiver stress, including depression.
According to reports released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), difficulty with memory, understanding and decision-making cause the most severe hardships. Caregivers were three times more frustrated when the senior needing care had Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.
The findings come from CIHI research with more than 130,000 seniors. And they’re no surprise, says Linda Hoskin, the Trail and Rossland support and education coordinator for the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.
“Supporting a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is a challenging responsibility that can feel overwhelming throughout the different stages of the disease,” she explains.
People who care for someone with dementia often talk about feeling guilty, even when others reassure them that they are doing the best they can, says Myres.
“They believe that it is their responsibility to provide all the care, all the time.”
To further help families coping with the impact of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, the society run a support and information group for family caregivers. It offers practical tips, a supportive environment, and a chance to learn from, and share with, others in similar circumstances.
For information, contact Hoskin at 250-352-6788, toll-free 1-877-452-6788 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CIHI research shows that spouses were twice as likely to feel stress compared to other family members providing care.
Compounding the problem is the social isolation often felt by caregivers, due to the time they spend helping their loved ones at the expense of maintaining friendships.
“An area of caregiving that is frequently overlooked is self-care for caregivers themselves,” Hoskin says. “Although it may be difficult for a caregiver to prioritize his/her own needs, it is important to think about personal well-being too because it can positively impact the quality of life of both the caregiver and the person they are caring for.”
Too much stress could leave family members unable to continue to provide care, which could lead to institutionalization – for the person with dementia and even for the caregiver, she says.
For more resources on coping with caregiver stress, visit www.AlzheimerBC.
This article is a press release from the Alzheimer' Society of BC.