Category Heading Suppport

Support Groups

We have a variety of support groups for both the care partner and for the person living with dementia. Below you will find information on the different types of groups and how to connect to them.

· Living with dementia for those with the disease

· Care partner support group – Time to Talk

· Grief Support group

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Next Steps

This section will answer your questions regarding future planning.

What is a Medical Alert bracelet?

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The Medical Alert Bracelet is a bracelet that is worn by any one that has a health concern, takes multiple medications or perhaps has a medical apparatus for example a pace maker. This way if the person cannot speak for themselves during a health event the emergency personnel can access their health records in order for them to provide care. If the person has a memory problem and gets lost the Medical Alert bracelet can be used to contact family and get the person back home safely.

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What is the Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

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There are two Powers of Attorney that exist in Canada. One for financial decisions and one for health care decisions. A Power of Attorney is a designated person who will make decisions on behalf of the person who cannot speak for themselves due to a health event or medical condition prior to death. Powers of Attorney are legal documents that every person should have as part of their important papers including the Will. Powers of Attorney are directions that need to be made prior to death and Wills are directions for decisions after death. This document will explain the Powers of Attorney for Personal Care. Please reach out to your local Alzheimer Society if you have any questions.

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What is a Living Will?

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Living Wills are directions or instructions left for a designated person like a family member, friend, or Power of Attorney that describes the care that you would like to be provided to you in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. This document is one of several that can be found on the internet that can be filled out and kept in a safe place with your Will and Powers of Attorney. The Powers of Attorney are the people who will make these decisions and the Living Will describes to them the decisions and care that you would like for your future.

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What are the next steps after a diagnosis?

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There are several things that you can do now that you have been diagnosed. Learning as much about your diagnosis together with your care partner will ease some of the confusion and emotions around the diagnosis. Talking to a trusted friend about your diagnosis, and reach out to the Alzheimer Society to speak to an outreach counsellor. There are also some practical planning items that can be started and put into place for your future. These may include updating or creating a will, preparing a Living Will, putting in place your powers of attorney for both your finances and your health care decisions. This disease can impact your ability to make decisions in the future and you want to make sure that how you would like to live your life in the future has been discussed with your loved ones and formally documented with an accountant and a lawyer. The Alzheimer Society Peel can direct you to our many educational seminars to help guide you in this process and answer any questions you may have. Planning early and having these discussions can help you and your family make plans in the future.

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My friend turned 80 and has to take the driving re-test. I have been diagnoses with dementia and I am worried that they will take my license away. What can I do?

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Driving is a complex skill and we use it for keeping us active and independent. The prospect of losing your license and subsequently possibly losing your independence can be a frightening thought. The diagnosis of dementia for some people means that they will automatically lose their license. Perhaps this is due to other health related issues or medication side effects. Perhaps there was an accident and this is how a diagnosis of dementia was found. For some people with dementia they can continue to drive for a short period of time after a diagnosis as long as they make changes to their driving. For example not driving at night or in bad weather; and not driving alone to unfamiliar or new places. For some people a diagnosis of dementia means that they voluntarily give up their driver’s license saying that the risk out ways the benefits of driving. For each individual the decision is personal and connecting with the Alzheimer Society outreach counsellor so that we can help you to connect to other transportation supports or to education around driving and dementia so that you can better understand the process.

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My partner has been diagnosed with dementia. How will this impact our marriage?

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Often a serious health change can and will change aspects of the marital relationship. The diagnosis of a dementia can impact both the relationship, the retirement plans of the couple, the financial aspects of the marriage, ways in which the couple communicates and the sexual and intimacy needs of the relationship. As this is most often a disease of the older generation marriages have a tendency to be long and enduring relationships based on more than 5 or 6 decades of patterns of communication and behaviours. Suddenly you are both living with a new person or there has been an addition of an ‘unexpected’ and unwanted stranger into the relationship- called dementia. Intimacy needs still exist for each partner in the relationship. The need for love and belonging, touch, and sexual needs. These will still continue regardless of the dementia diagnosis. For the person with dementia sometimes the brain is not able to access the ‘mechanics’ of the act of sexual intercourse and as a couple, changes will have to be explored to satisfy both of their needs for intimacy. Perhaps a back rub, hand holding, kissing, and soft words of love may not only enhance the relationship but add a quality to life that was perhaps forgotten. For the caregiver your changing roles from spouse to caregiver can be an exhausting time as well as a confusing time. Are you the “wife/husband” or the “cook?” Are you “still married” or not if the person does not remember who you are? Dementia often requires the caregiver to live in a time of ambiguity between life that was and a new life that hasn’t been figured out yet. Connecting with the Alzheimer Society outreach counsellor to discuss these complex issues can help clarify the ambiguity for both partners in a marriage.

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