There’s something to be said for having help at your fingertips. How many times have we experienced frustration with a problem and we just want to be able to pick up the phone and call someone? Accessing good dementia advice for family caregivers is an ever-present need and on today’s episode and blog post, we highlight an excellent resource, The Dementia Advice Line, offered by Alberta Health Services through the health link phone line.
Caregivers are unrecognized, and largely unsupported individuals who are at increased risk of caregiver burnout due to the mental, physical, and emotional strain they experience. The Dementia Advice Line is an additional support service created to help individuals caring for a loved one with dementia still residing in a home setting. Alberta Health Services (AHS) is hoping this resource can reduce the negative impact on the carer’s own personal health and help support them along their caregiving journey. AHS is one of many healthcare organizations striving to develop better support services for those experiencing dementia. In some of our previous postings, we’ve highlighted day programs, community-based services, and even online support forums that can help.
How does the dementia advice line work?
- Call 8-1-1. The Alberta Health Link Line
- That connects you to a Health Link Nurse who does an assessment to rule out any acute medical symptoms or emergency situations.
- There will then be a referral to a trained dementia nurse, who will follow up within 72 hours.
The Dementia Advice line gets around 60 referrals a month with a 90% success rate of the dementia care nurse making contact in follow up. What’s even more encouraging from the data is that fact that 83% of callers are actually following through on recommendations, meaning it’s working and caregivers are experiencing a reduction in crisis burn-out points. It’s so important to remember that asking for help is a strength – not a weakness.
Let’s unpack some caregiver action steps shared in this episode:
- Educate yourself and others. There are a TON of available options to accomplish this, one of which you’re doing right now by reading this blog post and/or listening to the Life With Dementia podcast. Please continue to listen and share, and remember you can find further links and resources in our other blog postings here. It is our goal to highlight real-life resources and solutions for your dementia journey.
- Expect to adjust. We’ve mentioned this before on Life With Dementia – flexibility is the key to resilience and thriving within a dementia diagnosis. If that’s a struggle for you, find additional support outlets in the form of other therapists, doctors, pharmacists or groups outlets for day-programs and respite care.
- Elevate the situation by staying focused on any positives you can find – no matter how small – and by capitalizing on opportunities to also elevate and engage your loved one with dementia in daily tasks, interests, and hobbies. Maximize everything that remains and you’ll BOTH be happier.
- Empower yourself – by taking care of your own health. Whatever that self-care looks like for you: support, massages, dinner and drinks with friends, or trips and adventures. Sometimes small day trips are the perfect distraction and outlet for reconnecting with your loved one… or just getting a breath away if you need it.
I hope you find ways to nurture your own health and the relationships still remaining if you’re living with or experiencing life with dementia. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge and express these four little words: “I need a break.”
Join us next time on Life With Dementia, the solution-driven podcast sharing relevant research, personal stories, and practical tips for living well with dementia. Tune in through Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple podcasts, or stream live on our website, which is: lifewithdementiapodcast.com. If you like what you read (or heard), please tell other people about it and share us on social media.
Alberta Referral Directory: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page14282.aspx
Music by Blue Dot Sessions “OneEightFour”