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Care & Support - Community Support and Services

  • 1) Education and social support services
  • 2) Home care services
  • 3) In-home and community companion/activity and respite programs

1) Education and social support services

Everyone's experience will be different when receiving a diagnosis of dementia. Some people may want to learn as much as they can about the disease right away, whereas others will want to take the learning slower. When you are ready to receive support, either educational or social, there are many services in the community that will be there for you. This journey is not something that you can do alone. Reach out to others who can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get information about dementia?
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You can get information about Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias from your local Alzheimer Society. The Alzheimer Society can provide you with information about:

  • Learning About the Disease
  • Living With the Disease
  • Healthy Living
  • Planning for the Future
  • Treatment Options
  • Research Opportunities
  • Community Resources

This information, which is available in written format and also through a variety of videos, can help you to feel more in control of the situation now and help your family to have more confidence in supporting you.

Are there educational workshops I can attend as a person with dementia?
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Yes. 'First Steps' is a session in the First Link® Learning Series offered by local Alzheimer Society chapters across Ontario . 'First Steps' will help you learn about and address issues you may be experiencing and to plan how you will face dementia. It will be an opportunity to connect with others in a similar situation and to understand different perspectives. People with dementia and care partners can attend these sessions together. Topics covered in 'First Steps' include:

  • What is Dementia
  • Adapting to Brain Changes and Brain Health
  • Planning Ahead
  • Building a Circle of Support and Coping strategies
  • Community resources

Another workshop that persons with dementia can attend is A Changing Melody, a learning and sharing forum for persons with early-stage dementia and their family partners in care. A Changing Melody is a unique event designed to bring persons with early-stage dementia, family members, friends and a range of professionals together in a safe space to learn with and from each other. Designed and implemented by a planning committee made up of persons with dementia, family members and professionals working in true partnership with each other, A Changing Melody provides a powerful space of learning, sharing, courage and hope as those experiencing dementia work together to change images and understandings of dementia and identify better ways to support others in continuing to live a meaning life with dementia. These events are held regionally throughout Ontario. Visit the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) website at http://www.marep.uwaterloo.ca/conferences/ for a list of these events, or contact your local Alzheimer Society.

For national and international workshops and events, visit the Alzheimer's Disease International website at http://www.alz.co.uk/ or the Alzheimer Society of Canada website at http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/News-and-Events for listing information.

Are there educational workshops I can attend as a partner in care?
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The 'First Steps' and 'Next Steps' learning sessions offered by the Alzheimer Society's First Link® program will give you the information, resources and skills you need to provide care and support to your family member. The topics covered in 'Next Steps' are similar to those covered in 'First Steps' except they are geared towards care partners of persons with dementia. Topics include:

  • What is Dementia
  • Memory loss, changes to the brain and resulting behaviours
  • Legal and financial matters
  • Coping strategies
  • Community resources

Another workshop that persons with dementia can attend is A Changing Melody, a learning and sharing forum for persons with early-stage dementia and their family partners in care. A Changing Melody is a unique event designed to bring persons with early-stage dementia, family members, friends and a range of professionals together in a safe space to learn with and from each other. Designed and implemented by a planning committee made up of persons with dementia, family members and professionals working in true partnership with each other, A Changing Melody provides a powerful space of learning, sharing, courage and hope as those experiencing dementia work together to change images and understandings of dementia and identify better ways to support others in continuing to live a meaning life with dementia. These events are held regionally throughout Ontario. Visit the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) website at http://www.marep.uwaterloo.ca/conferences/ for a list of these events.

In addition to workshops, the Alzheimer Society chapters across Canada also offer valuable information about dementia through written materials and a variety of videos.

Where can I get more information if I am a care partner and have already participated in 'Next Steps' through the Alzheimer Society?
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If you have attended 'Next Steps', there are a number of other learning opportunities for care partners offered by the Alzheimer's Society, which cover every step of the dementia journey, including day-to-day living, positive approaches to care, strategies for challenges, addressing increasing care needs and how to prepare for end of life. These include:

  • Care essentials
  • Options for care
  • Care in the later stages

You can register by contacting your local Alzheimer Society chapter.

Where can I get emotional support from others living with dementia?
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It is important to have support from a confidant or a friend. Try talking to someone who understands. This could mean joining an early stage support group (through your local Alzheimer Society ) or talking to a peer who is in a similar situation. Being able to share your feelings honestly and openly can bring comfort and relief(1).

The Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International (DASNI) is an online network of persons living with dementia from around the world. The DASNI website provides important information on living well with a dementia, and its members provide peer to peer support through online chat rooms. Visit the website at http://dasninternational.org/.

You may also want to consider one-one-one counselling support or religious/spiritual supports(1).

Where can I get emotional support from other partners in care?
Click for Answer

It is important to have support from a confidant or a friend. Try talking to someone who understands. This could mean joining a support group for care partners (through your local Alzheimer Society ) or talking to a peer who is in a similar situation. Being able to share your feelings honestly and openly can bring comfort and relief(1).

For family partners in care, Forgetful Not Forgotten is an online community for caregivers to meet, share and exchange information, and provides a place to connect with others and to voice your opinions.

You may also want to consider one-one-one counselling support or religious/spiritual supports(1).

Next Section

Source:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Mobile Interprofessional Coaching Team (MICT): Focus on Seniors Mental Health. (2009). Different types of support. In Living with Dementia: A Guidebook for Families. Kingston, Canada: MICT.

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Alzheimer Society of Ontario Find a chapter near you. http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/postal-code
First Link® Offers information on the First Link® program and the learning series offered through Alzheimer Society chapters around the province of Ontario Contact the Alzheimer Society of Ontario http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/We-can-help/Information-and-referral/Information-for-the-person-with-dementia
Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International (DASNI) An international web-based support network for persons living with dementia http://dasninternational.org/
Forgetful Not Forgotten A web community that connects and supports Canada's Alzheimer Partners in Care http://www.forgetfulnotforgotten.com/
Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program Provides a list of A Changing Melody Forums events http://www.marep.uwaterloo.ca/conferences/
Alzheimer Disease International List of national and international workshops and events http://www.alz.co.uk/
Alzheimer Society of Canada List of national and international workshops and events http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/index.php

2) Home care services

There are a number of community services available to support you in your own home. These services can assist you by providing meals and nutritional counseling, assisting you with personal care, providing help with household chores, providing medical and therapeutic care, and providing companionship and meaningful activities in the home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of services are available to me in my home?
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There are a number of community services available to support you. Services can support you at home by providing meals, personal care and help with household chores and activities. The best place to start is with the Community Care Access Centre where your needs will be assessed and the most appropriate services will be recommended. Depending upon your needs, some of the services may be covered under Ministry of Health funding, regardless of your financial situation.

You may also access a service provider directly or wish to retain additional services, in which case you usually must pay for the full cost of the services. Depending upon your financial situation and the individual service provider, subsidies may be available(1). Services that are available to you in your community include:

  • Meal and nutritional services – home delivered meals for those living in the community or senior centre, or services that provide nutritional advice.
    • Meals on Wheels provide nutritious hot and/or frozen meals under the supervision of a dietician and delivered on a short or long-term basis. Special diets can be taken into consideration.
    • EatRight Ontario connects you with a Registered Dietitian for free advice on healthy eating, through telephone or e-mail.
  • Personal care services - bathing, grooming, assistance with dressing, toileting, and transfers.
    • VON home-support workers can provide personal care.
    • Red Cross Community Health Services provide high quality and professional personal support and homecare services to allow seniors and other members of the community to maintain comfort and independence while living in their homes.
  • Household chore services - meal preparation, grocery shopping, errands, light housekeeping and laundry
    • The SMILE program assists eligible clients to set up a care plan to support them in their Instrumental activities of daily living, practical supports, such as meal prep or delivery, home help, snow / yard work, laundry, transportation. It does not hire service providers directly.
    • VON support program helps people with such routine but often physically challenging tasks as doing laundry, grocery shopping or making meals, to help keep them living at home.
  • Medical and therapeutic services – nursing services, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech and language pathology, medical supplies and equipment support etc.
    • VON Professional nurses go to patient's homes to do physical assessments, help with symptom control, provide medical or nursing treatments, rehabilitation therapy, education and counselling to individuals and families.
    • Red Cross offers community medical services and equipment loaning.
    • March of Dimes Recycled Rental Equipment Program provides short or long-term rentals of wheelchairs, crutches, ramps, lifting equipment and other devices.
  • Companion/Activity programs in the home –
    • Friendly visitor programs such as the Alzheimer Society Volunteer companion program offers respite services in the home and visiting companionship to isolated seniors to reduce loneliness and provide safety check. This can be a personal visit or through a phone call. Contact your local Alzheimer Society for more information.
    • VON services, in some cases, is provided by volunteers who provide companionship and might help in doing errands, but don't provide personal care or cleaning.
  • If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible for the Veterans Independence Program. This is a national home care program provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. The program was established in 1981 to help clients remain healthy and independent in their own homes or communities. Visit the Veteran's Affair Canada website for more information.

How can I access home care services?
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Most community home care services can be accessed through your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). The CCAC can provide you with service if you are living in your home, have a valid Ontario Health Card and require support. When you call a CCAC, a case manager will talk with you about your needs and the services they provide. Depending upon your needs, some of the services may be covered under Ministry of Health funding, regardless of your financial situation. Your family member can also call CCAC to request support for you(1).

CCAC can also discuss your options with you if living at home is becoming too difficult, such as:

  • Short-term care in the home
  • Supportive housing
  • Permanent placement in a long term care home(2)

CCAC can also link you to other support services in your community, arrange short term respite care to allow time off for a care partner and help you and your family members apply for admission to a long term care home. The CCAC is open Monday to Friday, weekends and holidays(2).

Private and charitable organisations also provide different home care services in the home that are available for a cost. These services vary across communities. To determine what is available in your community check the "Home Health Care Services" section of your yellow pages.

For more information on programs and services for seniors in Ontario, you can view a PDF copy of "A Guide to Programs and Services For Seniors in Ontario ", published by the Ontario Seniors' Secretariat, or order a paper copy. You can also access online, "Help's Here! Resources for Seniors and Caregivers ", or order a hard copy from the web site.

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Sources:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Care Planning Parnters Inc. (2011). Tips On Choosing Home Health Care & Community Support Services in Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.thecareguide.com/LivingAtHome/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=338, November 18, 2011.

(2) Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre. (n.d.) The Waterloo Wellington CCAC & You. Ontario, Canada: Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre.

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Volunteer Companion Program Information on the volunteer companion program for persons with dementia. http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/postal-code
Community Care Access Centre Information on support and care that you can receive in your home and in the community. http://www.ccac-ont.ca/
EatRight Ontario Provides free nutritional counselling from a registered dietitian. 1. Call the toll-free number: 1-877-510-510-2 from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, with evening hours Tuesday and Thursday to 9pm.
2. Email the service and receive a personal reply from a Registered Dietitian at www.ontario.ca/eatright.
3. Visit the website for articles, menus and recipes at www.ontario.ca/eatright
March of Dimes Recycled Rental Equipment Program Provides short and long term rentals of assistive devices. Ontario March of Dimes Provincial Office
10 Overlea Blvd.
Toronto ON M4H 1A4
1-800-263-3463
www.marchofdimes.ca
Smile Program Can help to develop a care plan for seniors in the community to help with daily living. http://www.smileprogram.ca/
or, call the Regional Management Centre
at 1-888-866-6647
VON Can provide health care and home care services to those in the community. http://www.von.ca/en/services
/program_listing.aspx?cat=11
A Guide to Programs and Services For Seniors in Ontario A summary of programs and services for seniors in Ontario, available in print form or on the web. http://www.seniors.gov.on.ca/en/seniorsguide/
docs/seniors_guide_final_english_web.pdf
or http://www.seniors.gov.on.ca/
en/seniorsguide/index.php
Help's Here! Resources for Seniors and Caregivers A summary of resources for seniors and partners in care in Ontario. www.helpshere.com
Veteran's Affairs Canada Information on National home care program for Veterans. http://www.veterans.gc.ca/services/vip
Red Cross Provides health care and home care services to seniors in Ontario. http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=12952&tid=001
Meals on wheels Food service that delivers hot or frozen meals on a short term or long term basis. http://www.mealcall.org/canada/ontario/

3) In-home and community companion/activity and respite programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What companion/activity programs are available to me in the home?
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The Volunteer Companion Program offered by some Alzheimer Society chapters is also a great way for persons with dementia to socialize with other people if you live in your own home. In this program, a trained volunteer visits your home from 1-4 hours each week. The volunteer will spend time doing activities with you that you enjoy. Contact your local Alzheimer Society chapter to find out if this program is available in your community(1).

Friendly Visitor programs, where a trained person will come to your home and provide companionship to you or your care partner, are also offered by private and charitable organisations. Check your local yellow pages in your phone book under "Senior Citizen Services & centres" to find out what is available in your community.

What opportunities are there for socializing if I have been diagnosed with a dementia or caring for someone with dementia?
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Becoming involved in leisure activities and visits with friends can provide stimulating conversation, exercise and activity, a sense of participation and connections with others so you do not feel alone. These programs also help you maintain engagement and connections to your community. Some options include:

  • Adult day programs that provide part-of-the-day supervised programming in a group setting for individuals with dementia. Services may include leisure activities, meals and personal care.
  • Seniors' Centres that offer multi-purpose social and recreational drop-in programs for seniors.
  • Seniors' Clubs or Groups that offer membership and engage seniors through various annual events, workshops and activities.
  • Attending activities at your church.
  • Visiting with friends.
  • Joining a new club.

What respite services are available in my community if I am a care partner of someone with dementia?
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There are various services for you as a partner in care of a person with dementia; services that will allow you to have a break from your responsibilities as a partner in care, and provide you with an opportunity to do some things for yourselves. These services are called respite care services, and there are three ways that they can be provided: In-home respite, Adult day programs, and short-stay respite(2).

In-home respite

This service brings someone to your own home to provide help with needed services (e.g. personal care) and to allow a family partner in care to take a break(2).

If you are eligible for services coordinated by the Community Care Access Centre , in-home respite is paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Otherwise, these services may be available from various providers, in which case there is likely to be a cost for these services(2).

Additionally, the Volunteer Companion Program offered through the Alzheimer Society can provide you with short term relief from your care partner role. A trained volunteer will be matched with your family member and will visit your home every week for 1-4 hours. The volunteer will encourage your family member with dementia to participate in activities they enjoy, like going for walks, crafts and gardening. This will give you some free time, as well as provide social stimulation to your family member. Contact your local Alzheimer Society chapter to find out if this program is available in your community(1).

Likewise, Friendly Visitor programs, where a trained person will come to your home and provides companionship to your family member, is also offered by private and charitable organizations. Check your local yellow pages in your phone book under "Senior Citizen Services & centres" to find out what is available in your community.

Adult day programs

In addition to the above-noted respite options, many communities have Adult Day Programs. These agencies offer a planned program of activities designed to promote well-being through social and health related services. Adult day programs typically operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday, in a safe, supportive, cheerful environment. Nutritious meals that accommodate special diets are typically included, along with an afternoon snack(3). There can be a consumer fee for this service to cover the meals and transportation costs (approximately $15 to $50 per day)(2). Subsidies may be available.

Two purposes of adult day programs are:

  • To provide older adults an opportunity to get out of the house and receive both mental and social stimulation.
  • To give partners in care a much-needed break in which to attend to personal needs, or simply rest and relax(3).
Short-stay respite

Another form of respite for family care partners is the Respite Care Program (Short Stay Beds) through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), which refers to a temporary stay at a long term care facility. There is a consumer fee for this service. Application for the Respite Care Program is arranged through your local Community Care Access Centre.

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Sources:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Alzheimer Society. (n.d.) Volunteer companion program. Ontario, Canada: Alzheimer Society.

(2) Reprinted with permission from Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. (2010, November). Seniors' Care: Community Support Services. (c) Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/ltc/11_community.html#5, November 18, 2011.

(3) Reprinted with permission from Robinson, L., Segal, J., & White, M. (2010, November). Adult Day Care Centers: Finding the Best Center for Your Needs. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/elder/adult_day_care_centers.htm, November 18, 2011. Helpguide.org © 2001-2012. All rights reserved. For more information, visit www.HelpGuide.org

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Volunteer Companion Program Information on the volunteer companion program for persons with dementia http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/postal-code
Canadian Senior Years List of Ontario Senior Centres http://www.senioryears.com/seniorcentres-Ont.html
Community Care Access Centre Information on support and care that you can receive in your home and in the community http://www.ccac-ont.ca/
Alzheimer Society of Ontario Provides a list of regional chapters http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/postal-code
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[This page updated on December 13, 2012]
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