Caregivers for those living with dementia are all over the country. Caregivers range in age, ethnicity, geography, income, and education. While research theories have been done about what the large, diverse population of caregivers looks like and what they are faced with, there is one thing we know for sure. Dementia does not discriminate. It can affect the lives of many different family structures. The demand is great for comprehensive resources to serve caregivers.
The marriage of caregiving and the internet seems like a natural progression in fighting the disease of dementia and empowering caregivers to act and cope with its realities. In-person resources such as support groups can be very helpful, but not always realistic or sought after by caregivers due to demanding work schedules and reluctance to share struggles publicly. So, caregivers are now able to seek valuable information via the internet. Of course, like all information on the internet, it is not all created equal. Below are some resources to consider looking into while wading through the many offerings designed to address the growing needs of caregivers.
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute offers extensive free online education including webinars, newsletters, research summaries, and a series of videos called COMPASS: Directions for Caregivers after the Dementia Diagnosis. The video on communication highlights some key things to avoid such as correcting, convincing, or coercing. The speaker notes that while these can be “normal” communication tools, they are not at all beneficial when communicating with a person living with dementia. Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is based in Arizona, but Director of Family Community Services Jan Dougherty has made it a goal to ensure that truly substantive information can be disseminated to caregivers across the country. The online education page can be found at this link: http://www.banneralz.org/education-events/online-education.aspx.
Nationally renowned dementia trainer Teepa Snow also maintains a website which has short video and audio clips to address the various challenges of caregiving. Her style is distinctive, emphasizing her trademarked Positive Approach. She uses her personal and professional experiences infused with some humor to help guide caregivers. Her site offers additional resources for a fee such as her newsletter and online coursework. For more information, visit the website at www.teepasnow.com. To view some free introductory videos, visit http://teepasnow.com/about/youtubes-webinars/.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a free online community in the form of a website called ALZConnected at www.alzconnected.org. Message boards are offered to include forums in which caregivers can post about their unique struggles to help their loved ones with their specific forms of dementia diagnoses, such as Younger-Onset Dementia.
One common theme in coping with life after diagnosis is to take the time to plan ahead. At a recent Teepa Snow training event in Connecticut, she emphasized the need for awareness of the medical, financial, and legal intersection of dementia. Weatherby & Associates, PC is a law firm committed to helping with all the necessary planning steps, some of which are known to caregivers and some which may not be known. For more information on how we can help you and your family, contact us at 860-769-6938.