more stress-free community experience,”Butvin says.
Making resources more readilyaccessible also alleviates stress. That’swhy Mallamo and her Westhillscounterpart, Emma Richardson, aremapping resources that caregivers canturn to in their communities when aloved one is diagnosed with dementia.
“To have all of the resources in one
place would be a huge relief to people
faced with a diagnosis,” Mallamo says.
Gilks agrees. He considers himselffortunate to connect with the servicesthat help him keep his promise to hismother. Twice a week Lillian goes to theadult day program at Bow View Manor(also operated by the foundation). Fivedays a week, for anywhere from twoto four hours, a caregiver comes to thehouse to bathe her and spend time withher when Gilks and his partner go out.
These services make life easier foreveryone in the house, although theyinvolved a learning curve to access andensure that they function in a useful way.
“I got a whole pile of information
initially, but it was either too much or
not enough,” Gilks recalls. “It was like
an explosion of information, power
of attorney, you need to do this, you
need to do that. The information was
very practical, but there was a bit of a
disconnect to what my mother needed at
that point in time.”
One reason he became involved with
the Westhills DFC alliance committee is
to continue advocating for his mother
and others with dementia, and their
families. He believes that more emphasis
is needed to provide activities and
programs to connect both groups. And
he’s hopeful that working together is
the best way to close gaps and bring
Gilks knows there may come a daywhen he has to rethink his promise to hismother. “I could wake up tomorrow andshe may not know who I am,” he says.
“At that point, it becomes a different
judgment call. That’s how I view my
overall responsibility: I will continue to
work for her. Even if she had to go into a
care centre, the quality of life would still
be there, it would just have a different
look to it.”
With his work and that of other
Albertans involved with the DFC project,
that look is sure to be friendlier. |a
Students from Rundle College and residents from Wentworth Manor in Calgary had tea together in June
2016 to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma around dementia.
To have all of theresources in one placewould be a huge reliefto people faced with adiagnosis