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Ten Helpful Things I learned from the Caregiver’s Exposition.

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:

  1. 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 
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  4. 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.
  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

 

Ten Things I Learned from the Caregiver’s Expo

The Burnaby Seniors’ Outreach Society’s Caregiver Expo provided a fount of information.  It was a pleasure to meet  speak with Helena, following up on our initial phone conversations.  If you weren’t able to attend the Expo earlier this month, here is a cheat sheet of valuable information: ten things I learned that I believe will prove helpful to caregivers.

  1. 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:  http://www.nidus.ca

  2. CAREGIVER EDUCATIONAL SERIES: Is available in Burnaby, through the Burnaby Seniors Outreach Services Society.  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.  More info is available at : https://www.bsoss.org/index.php/contact-us

  3. 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 http://www.parkinsonbc.ca

  4. BONE BROTH: Is made from bones from organically raised and humanly butchered cows, the bones are simmered in water for up to 36 hours. The resulting broth 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 to place an order call 604-432-9961.

  5. ALLIES IN AGING:  Is the mantra of the Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC).  This organization provides many supports, one of which is a magazine called   The  Caregivers’ Connection.   To sign up for this publication, follow this link: http://www.familycaregiversbc.ca

  6. FREE LEGAL CONSULTATIONS FOR SENIORS: Is available in New Westminster, Surrey, Burnaby, North Vancouver, and Vancouver.  To find out more about this priceless resource, call 604-336-5653.  Or learn more at http://www.SeniorsFirstBC.ca

  7. 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 necessary medications, full access to facilities along with support staff availability.  For the lower mainland this is a great bargain; it can grant peace of mind to the caregiver during a much-needed break.  For more information go to: http://www.agecare.ca.

  8. 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, except for holidays. All calls are confidential.

  9. LEGAL DOCUMENTS: I learned that

    1. Wills cover everything after death,

    2. Power of Attorney covers legal and financial matters while one is alive,

    3. And a Representation Agreement appoints someone to make health and personal care decisions as you have instructed, on your behalf if you are incapacitated due to illness or accident.  For more information, contact Nidus, (see #1 on this list) or use your free 1/2 hour legal consult (#6).

  10. CAREGIVER SUPPORT: 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 Parkinson’s society, and the cancer society.  There are also community and hospice caregiver support groups which are often free. Contact Fraser Health Services or Vancouver Coastal Health to arrange for a free assessment of the services for which you qualify, and a determination of costs.

    And I cannot say this often enough: 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 ranging 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 often frustrating as well as rewarding.  To give and get the most out of this journey, it is important to care for yourself.  These resources will help you to do just that!

Margaret Jean.

 

Caregiver Expo Free Admission and Parking!

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.

  • A support line representative from the Family Caregivers of BC will be available to advise on the services provided by this organization.  http://www.familycaregiversbc.ca/get-help/1-to-1-caregiver-coaching-2/

  • 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 info@bbyseniors.ca.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

ACP, LPA, AMD and the last Will and Testament

This post is helpful in sorting out various legal situations people face when dealing with care. Please check if they are applicable in your area.

Dementia, Caregiving and Life in General

This post is about death, disability, disease and decision-making.

There comes a time when someone is ill or dying, and decisions have to be made about treatment and whether or not to prolong life, or suffering, as the case may be. Who makes the decisions? When? How? Singaporean not only love acronyms, they like things neat and orderly. And so several laws and programs have been put in place to help people do things properly.

Unfortunately, the introduction of these new programs have been muddled up with rules, details and legal jargon. Let me try to demystify it a bit…

Last will and testament

This is obvious. This is a legal document determining how to distribute one’s worldly possessions upon death.

Example – Aunty Helen died, and in her last will and testament, left her house to her son, her jewellery to her daughter, her bank account to her chauffeur and…

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Caregivers: Crisis Situations–Work, Employment Insurance, & Housing.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. An ROE from your human resource or payroll department.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.

 

Advocating For Your Loved One: Eight Practical Suggestions.

How often have you noticed something that needs to be addressed in order for your loved one to have the best care? Probably almost as often you have felt mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.   

The key to dealing with these situations is to be prepared, to be as informed as possible. Armed with the relevant information you will feel empowered and confident. 

These eight practical suggestions will ensure quick access to the records you need to be effective in your dealings with medical professionals and bureaucrats when issues arise.

1.  At every appointment, take notes and always date them.   

  • Be sure to include a list of all participants. At meetings with medical practitioners ensure that you record key terminology and associated terms, and any recommendations that are made. This applies not only to specific medical concerns but also to diagnosis and treatment options.  I kept these notes in one notebook making it easy for me to quickly locate relevant information. This helps immensely if you should decide to question a medical decision.

 2. Get copies.  

Always insist that you receive any report that is generated concerning your patient.  I found that doctors were usually willing to have an assistant photocopy documents for me. I even received ECG printouts when I asked for them. 

3.  In the Province of British Columbia you have the right to a printout of any lab test results requested by your doctor.  However you must tell them you want a copy when you submit the requisition to the lab. The lab will then either give you a card with the internet address where you can access the results, or if you prefer, ask to have them mailed to you.

 4.  Ask the pharmacists to photocopy all original prescription requests from your doctor. This allows you to compare the dosages indicated on bottles or vials to what the doctor actually prescribed.  It also enables you to check prescriptions against previous ones.  On rare occasions this additional check helped me to determine, with a pharmacist’s assistance, that the prescription filled was either inaccurate or inadequate.  I found that Costco pharmacy was always willing to go this extra distance to ensure my peace of mind.

 5.  Don’t back down. If you have gathered all the information and know that you are right, don’t yield. Always be calm and courteous, but insistent.  Do your research. If you are lucky enough to have a nurse or doctor in the family or in your circle of friends, discuss the issues with them.  They may put your mind at ease with the medical advice you have been given, or they may indicate possible strategies for intervention.

6.    Phone calls to professionals are most effective when you maintain a professional demeanour. The last thing you want to do is to alienate the people who hold your loved one’s life in their hands!  Use phrases like “it seems that this is the case…”, or “is it not the case…?”, or “could you please explain to me…?”, or “it seems to me…” as opposed to “you made a mistake…”, or “you lied…”.

7.   In the case of bureaucratic delays or rejections, where time is crucial to ensuring the well-being and best care of your patient, state that if necessary you are willing, while be it reluctantly,  to go to wider public resources: the local newspaper or TV station.

When writing a letter always copy to your MP or MLA and state that you are doing so.  Assert and reassert the facts.   When you have the evidence to back up your position, you need never back down.

8.  You are your loved one’s lifeline.  Never forget that.  One of a caregiver’s first and foremost endeavour is to advocate for those who are under their care.

Margaret Jean.

Caregivers: Avenues to Resources

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.