The Burnaby Support Society’s Caregiver Expo provided a fount of information. Here are some agencies that are available to us, and some companies that offer services we may choose to use:
- NIDUS: is an organization established in 1995 to provide both information and assistance with Representation Agreements. Nidus now serves as a registry for all the documents that outline your instructions for care should you become no longer capable, due to accident or illness. Materials and information are available on the website: www.nidus.ca
- CAREGIVER EDUCATIONAL SERIES: Available in Burnaby, this is a six week course presented twice a year on how to alleviate, manage and improve the quality of life for the caregiver and the care-recipient.
- PARKINSON SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: Provides free counselling for those who have Parkinson’s as well as their loved ones. Other services include a network of over 50 support groups province wide. Contact them at www.parkinsonbc.ca
- BONE BROTH: Made from simmering bones for up to 36 hours (in water) is said to reduce joint pain and inflammation, promote strong bones and heal and seal your gut, promoting healthy digestion. To find out more, or place an order call 604-432-9961.
- ALLIES IN AGING: Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) provide many supports, one of which is a magazine called The Caregivers’ Connection. To sign up for this publication, follow this link: www.familycaregiversbc.ca
- FREE LEGAL CONSULTATIONS FOR SENIORS: Available in New Westminster, Surrey, Burnaby, North Vancouver, and Vancouver. To find out more about this resource, call 604-336-5653. Or learn more at www.SeniorsFirstBC.ca
- RESPITE STAYS: Joel Grigg of AgeCare Harmony Court Estate advised me that care-recipients can come to stay at their retirement home for $90 a night. This includes meals, overseeing their medications, access to facilities and support staff availability. For the lower mainland, this is a bargain, as well as granting peace of mind to the caregiver during a much-needed break. For more information go to: www.agecare.ca.
- SAIL: Stands for Seniors Abuse & Information Line. 1-866-437-1940 available weekdays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with interpretation available on request from 9 a.m. to 4 pm weekdays. Holidays excepted. All calls are confidential.
- LEGAL DOCUMENTS: I learned that Wills cover everything after death, Power of Attorney covers legal and financial matters while you are alive, and The Representation Agreement appoints someone to make health and personal care decisions as you have instructed, on your behalf.
- CAREGIVER SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE: Caregiver Support is available in BC, often through the organizations that provide information and support for the care-recipient’s illness, such as the Alzheimer’s society, the Parkinsons’ society, and the cancer society. There are also community and hospice caregiver support groups. The best way to find support? Call your local hospice society offices.
The Caregiver Expo happens every year in Burnaby and the exhibitors offer valuable information from the price of retirement housing to government, private and volunteer agencies that are in place to assist in the process of caregiving. Caregiving is demanding and as often frustrating as it is rewarding. To give and get the most from this journey, it’s important to care for yourself and your loved ones. These resources will help you to do just that.
If you are a caregiver living in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, here is an information and resource session that is well worth attending. It’s the Burnaby Seniors Outreach Services Society Caregiver Expo.
I spoke with Helena at the office (604-291-2258) and she gave me some info on who the exhibitors will be.
BC 211 agent. Helena told me this is a help line where people actually answer the phone when you dial 211. You tell them your situation: e.g. “My wife has dementia, and I would like to go away for a few days. Are there any respite care facilities in my area?” Internet research is great, but this new approach to the old Redbook is personable, friendly and well resourced.
Various care home companies (e.g. Chartwell and Harmony House) will be on site to answer questions regarding assisted and independent living. Did you know that some care homes offer temporary respite stays? What a great way to introduce your loved one to the possibility of community living. To check them out before going you may wish to research at www.comfortlife.ca
Allies in Aging holds North Shore workshops such as : Exploring Depression and Delirium; Translink Rider Training; and It’s Not Right! a workshop exploring how to detect and report elder abuse. alliesinaging.ca/
Citizen Support Services representative: From Burnaby City, this department offers grocery shopping and delivery for seniors, (free of charge), companionship through visitations and phone buddies, as well as lunches, bus trips and resource information.
Revenue Canada agents will be on hand to explain the various caregiving credits available for use at tax time.
Service Canada agents will explain the ins and outs of the newly extended compassionate care leave for those who work and still fill the caregiver’s role.
These are just a sampling of the exhibitors expected to attend. And there’s a bonus–admission and parking are free. There is something for every caregiver to enjoy at this event sponsor by the Burnaby Seniors Outreach Services Society https://www.bsoss.org/
Caregiver Expo 2018
Date: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm
Place: Bonsor Recreation Complex, 6550 Bonsor Ave., Burnaby, BC
Free admission and free parking!
DO YOU LOOK AFTER A RELATIVE, FRIEND OR NEIGHBOUR WHO COULDN’T MANAGE WITHOUT YOUR HELP?
If you provide unpaid support to a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has a mental health or substance misuse problem, you are a caregiver. Come along to our Expo to learn about programs and services that can support you in your caring journey.
The Caregiver Expo will feature over 20 exhibitors, Door Prize Draws, and great speakers including a keynote speech by Bee Quammie, Writer, Digital Content Creator, Event Speaker.
Any questions please call 604-291-2258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The call came midday. My grandson, Cody, had been in a serious motor vehicle accident. He had a broken back among other injuries and was in critical condition.
In the harrowing days that followed, I was reminded that as well as being ever present for the critical patient, the caregiver has a life of their own which must be managed even while giving much of their energy to the support of the person in crisis.
What to do about Work, and time missed due to caregiving?
The social worker at the hospital advised Bev to apply for Compassionate Care E.I. This Employment insurance benefit is available to people who will be unable to work for a period of time while they are providing support for a critically ill loved one. The benefit, for those who qualify, can be paid for up to 26 weeks. To qualify you will need:
- A doctor’s certificate. The form can be downloaded from the E.I. website, and we simply took the form to the ICU where the doctor signed it for us.
- An ROE from your human resource or payroll department.
- An online application. We learned that VGH has a computer room available to patients and their families. As well as providing computers, the centre facilitates faxes, printing and copying forms.
- My daughter took the forms to a local Services Canada office and left the Doctor’s certificates for reference with her file. Remember to have these forms photocopied so that you have copies in case the official ones go astray.
- To learn more or start your own application go to: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-compassionate.html
There was also the travel factor; Bev lived about 300 miles from VGH. What options are available to families who live long distances from the hospital?
- Staying with a friend or relative who lives in the area: Fortunately, I live less than 30 miles from the facility so Bev could stay with me. And the transit system is excellent. Although it took an hour and a half by bus and sky train to get within two blocks of the hospital, the stress of driving in and the horrific cost of hospital parking made the transit option preferable.
- Ronald MacDonald Houses are highly lauded if available in the area of the hospital, and if your child qualifies. RMHC houses have an age limit of 21 years in some cases, and 18 years and under in others, in which case Cody being 24 years, his mom would not have qualified for a room. These accommodations have rules and small costs associated with them, and a doctor’s certificate is necessary if you need to stay overnight. See more at the website of the Ronald MacDonald House in your area. Costs are minimal and no one is excluded for an inability to pay.
- Check housing available in the various universities. While they may not be particularly close to the hospitals, they all have excellent bus service to and from the downtown area. Some universities have very reasonable dorm rates in the summer when most students are off campus.
There are many other concerns, of course. But hopefully the info I’ve provided on these two issues is helpful.
As for Cody? He has a strong spirit and a great deal of loving support as well as a wonderful attitude of gratitude. He is healing far better than anticipated.
A recent article in our local paper featured an autistic young man and his parents’ anguished journey to secure assistance. It took the newspaper offices to finally connect the parents to the resources to which they were entitled.
It is often true that media attention is what is required to find and procure crucial resources for the caregiver’s charge.
For example, after years of trying every avenue to connect with the resources available for his son, the father, Bimal Chand, went to the NOW Newspaper. Their staff connected him with the the executive director of Inclusion BC in the hopes that she would determine what resources the family were entitled to access and why they hadn’t been offered.
The director, Faith Bodnar, referred to the situation as “horrific” stating that there are agencies that supply ongoing support for these situations, and it is infinitely more draining both financially and emotionally when these support mechanisms are not in place.
She described Inclusion BC as an organization that fights for the rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.Bodnar is quoted as saying that transitioning a youth out of the home should happen four to five years before they turn nineteen. Another spokesperson from Fraser Health said transition services are available from their agency between the ages of 17 and 21.
Services to adults with Developmental Disabilities, a Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation program identifies and assists with the transitioning of young people whose needs cross several different ministries.
There is only one successful approach to finding and getting the resources available for your charge: Never give up.