Canadian Dementia Resources (Part 1)
You feel like your life has been turned upside down with a recent diagnosis of dementia. You've joined a club that you never wanted to membership in, and are wondering where to go next.
What questions should you ask? What answers are even out there?
I don't want anyone to carry this weight alone. So, I'm sharing my top three dementia resources for Canadians to get you started on your journey.
Arming ourselves with knowledge is one of the most powerful tools available in dementia empowerment. And when it comes to dementia resources, the good news is that there is an over-abundance of resources out there to tap into.
Here's the thing:
I find families are pretty shook up right after a diagnosis. And when we're in shock, our brains aren't at their best for absorbing and sorting through lots of information.
As a result, I've narrowed my best "get you started" dementia resources down to just three, so no one feels overwhelmed at a time when you're already .....well, overwhelmed.
Ready to Dig In? Let's Get Started:
Over the years, I've explored hundreds of online dementia resources from around the world. There are some that I go back to again and again, and which I have found help families move forward together.
And although Canadians love to learn from best practices around the globe, it's nice to know there are homegrown resources that recognize our unique healthcare system, and allow us to hear from our friends and neighbours across the country.
Here are my top three Canadian dementia resources:
Ideal for: Dementia 101
Kudos to the folks at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario for putting together iGeriCare, one of the most well-designed and inclusive sites on dementia education I've ever seen, hands down.
Their free, easy-to-navigate animated Lessons clock in at a realistic 10-30 minutes each, and you can start and stop at any time. Specially chosen by geriatric and mental health experts, they address themes like "Safety at Home", "Different Types of Dementia" and "Behavioural Symptoms".
I also am a huge fan of their Resources Page, which has a thorough selection of videos, tip sheets and links to pretty much everything you'll need to know about this new chapter, from medications to physical activity hacks.
Finally, don't overlook their Events Page, where they feature a variety of videos by Canadian experts exploring topics like this excellent 40-minute discussion on Driving and Dementia.
#2: Family Caregivers of British Columbia
Ideal for: Care Partner Support
Living in Newfoundland or Nunavut? You'll still want to bookmark this page. This well-curated site is not just for people living on the West Coast.
Although it does have lots of useful resources for people in that province, the folks at Family Caregivers of British Columbia have done a superb job of collecting a wide variety of resources that many Canadian care partners will find useful at any stage of their journey together.
Here are a few of my favourite picks:
- New to Caregiving: How to Prepare and What You Need to Know
- Role of Adult Children in Assisting Parents
- Untangling All Those Emotions
This is also a great site to share with friends, family and members of your support network far and wide. This means everyone can start to access resources and collaborate on ways to help out with creative strategies... right from the outset.
#1: Alzheimer Society of Canada
Ideal for: Navigating Next Steps
You may be surprised to see such an obvious suggestion on the list, but I'm always shocked at how many Canadians aren't advised by their health team to make the Alzheimer Society of Canada their first call after they leave the doctor's office with a diagnosis of dementia.
Because our health and support systems differ dramatically from one province to the next (and even within provinces!) it's crucial to have someone in your corner who knows the ins and outs of your local area.
From connecting you with local peer support groups to navigating your new diagnosis, this is a resource Canadians are lucky to have.
Not sure where to start? If your healthcare team hasn't already referred you, feel free reach out to the Alzheimer Society of Canada's First Link program yourself to start connecting to resources tailored to your personal situation.
I hope these three resources help you start on your journey together with a loved one. Looking for something different? Our door is always open for questions and suggestions on how to make Canada a more dementia-inclusive society ... for everyone!
Until next time ,
P.S. Ready to learn more? Here are some more of my favourite resources:
Are you living with a recent diagnosis and interested in Peer Support? Click Here
Getting honest: it's time to think about Advance Care Planning. ca Click Here & Nova Scotia
No one should be asking you to go this alone. Here's a Checklist of People You Need on Your Team.