As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to produce challenges, people in the Cowichan and Chemainus valleys affected by dementia face additional difficulties and complexities. Family dynamics, in particular, may be affected by these new changes and physical distancing protocols.
Cowichan and Chemainus residents can learn more in the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s free webinar, “Family dynamics in dementia caregiving,” with registered social worker and psychotherapist Jodie McDonald. The hour-long session is on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.
As a caregiver, drawing the line with family members can be uncomfortable and difficult, especially when there are conflicting perceptions regarding the best care for people living with dementia. The ongoing changes to visitation rules are an additional stress to what is already a challenging situation for many caregivers and families.
Guest speaker Jodie McDonald, registered social worker, psychotherapist, and past executive director for the Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society, will provide strategies on setting boundaries and initiating difficult conversations with family members.
Tips for family dynamics in dementia caregiving:
During unprecedented times, it is important that the needs of both the caregivers and people living with dementia are being addressed. Effective caregiving requires regular communication, boundaries and involving others to help. Here are some suggestions:
• Plan and know your limits: when initiating a conversation about navigating new care dynamics, a vital step is to prepare what to discuss. With emotionally charged conversations surrounding care, it is especially important to reflect and identify your own limits.
• Discuss options and boundaries openly: keep in mind the needs of both the individuals receiving and providing care. Depending on the progression of one’s dementia, there may be different levels of ability. However, to the extent possible, ensure the person living with dementia is involved.
• Establish roles and responsibilities: an established and consistent routine can be reassuring for everyone. More clarity and division of responsibilities is beneficial to ensure the best possible care can be given.
• Find support: remember, you are never alone. Having a support network and care team is beneficial for both caregivers and people living with dementia. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in caregiving within families, but there are virtual methods available to include other individuals or professionals in the conversation, if appropriate.
Attend a webinar
To learn more about caregiving dynamics or other topics related to the disease, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. invites you to sign up for free webinars. Upcoming webinars include:
• What is dementia? (Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia affects the individual’s brain and behaviour, as well as the disease’s impact on family.
• Family dynamics in dementia caregiving with Jodie McDonald, MSW (Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2 p.m.): Join registered social worker and psychotherapist Jodie McDonald to learn strategies for managing difficult conversations and navigating boundaries with other family members in your role as a dementia caregiver.
• Deciphering research headlines (Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2 p.m.): Join us to increase your research literacy. Learn how to go beyond news headlines and evaluate if a source is credible. This webinar will also cover our most frequently asked questions about dementia research.
• Focus on behaviour: Bathing and hygiene (Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia affects bathing and hygiene and explore strategies for managing these changes.
To register for any of these webinars, or to access free recorded webinars, please visit alzbc.org/webinars.