According to Statistics Canada (2008) one-third of Canadians aged 45 and older provides some form of care to seniors living with long-term health problems, for example, Alzheimer's disease or other type of dementia. Because of the aging population, the number of people living with dementia is expected to double in the next 15 years, and as a result, the number of family caregivers is also likely to increase.
The caregiving roles and responsibilities taken on by families and friends:
- can often be intense and time consuming
- have major impacts on caregivers’ health and overall lifestyles (e.g., depression, caregiver burden, ambiguous loss, stress-related problems, disruption in sleep, family strain and conflict, reduction in social life and personal leisure opportunities).
- can have a negative impact on work (e.g., performance, productivity, changes in employment status, more time off work)
One potential intervention or strategy for coping with the caregiving role is education at all stages of the disease process.
Considering the projections stated earlier, there are potentially many employees at the University of Waterloo who could benefit personally and professionally from education for providing care support to someone living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
Outline for 3-part brown bag education series
Starting in January 2017, MAREP will be offering a 3-part brown bag education series for employees of the University of Waterloo. Each session (once a month for three months) will be 90-minutes in length and will include a Q&A. All participants will be given a free set of three By Us For Us resource guides.
Part 1.0: Pathways of Dementia (Basic Overview of Dementia) - January 24th
- Understand what dementia is and various reversible and irreversible causes of dementia
- Understand the different brain changes as a result of dementia and common behavioural and psychological symptoms associated with them
- Learn strategies to implement to support persons with dementia
- Discover what resources are available in the community for caregivers
- Discover what policies are in place at the University of Waterloo and through the Federal and Provincial governments to support caregivers in the workplace and at home
Part 2.0: Coping with Change on the Caregiver Journey - February 21st
- Identify personal signs of stress as a result of caregiving
- Identify personal coping strategies, both positive and negative, related to caring for a family member or friend with dementia
- Identify and develop goals around personal coping strategies best suited for their individual circumstances
- Learn how friends, co-workers, supervisors etc. can support someone who is a caregiver
Part 3.0: Enhancing Communication in Dementia Care - March 22nd
- Understand the variety of communication changes that occur with dementia
- Understand the goal of communication when with a persons with dementia
- Have practical strategies to implement to enhance communication with persons with dementia
- Understand how meaningful activity can enhance communication and improve visiting a loved one in long-term care
- Have communication strategies to address work related issues from both the employer and the employees perspective
The three sessions will be co-facilitated by Lisa Loiselle, the Associate Director at MAREP, in partnership with a person living with dementia and/or a family partner in care who will share their personal stories of living with dementia or supporting a person with dementia.
According to research (Pahlavanzadeh, Heidari, Maghsudi, Ghazavi, Samandari, 2010), attending an educational program can:
- significantly reduced family caregivers’ level of burden,
- delay the placement of the person with dementia in long-term care,
- improve the psychological wellbeing for the caregiver,
- help caregivers cope better, and
- allow caregivers to maintain a sense of well-being.
This education series is being made possible through The Staff Excellence Fund.