It’s estimated there are over one million people providing informal care to over half a million people with dementia in Canada. (iStock)

Dementia: caregivers get online help

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Caring for a friend or relative with dementia can be difficult and stressful, so two Canadian doctors have developed a free, online program to help such informal caregivers.

“What we saw was the challenges faced by informal family caregivers today,” said Dr. Anthony Levinson is a psychiatrist at McMaster University.

“There’s no manual so they don’t necessarily have all of the background information, knowledge or skills that may help them in this very important task and we rarely had time as geriatricians or psychiatrists or family physicians… provide some of that background information.

“So, maybe our goal with this resource was the missing manual to help manage what can be a very distressing challenge.”

(photo: McMaster University)

Dr. Anthony Levison says the importance of caregivers has been underappreciated and he explains the online tool developed to help them.

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Live Q & As offered

There are over half a million Canadians living with dementia now and that number is expected to double or triple as a large proportion of the population is getting old. It’s estimated there are over one million caregivers who need information on how to take care of loved one, but take care of themselves too.

The igericare.healthhq.ca/ website offers 10 multimedia lessons as well as other expert-curated resources.

In addition,  Levinson and his colleague geriatrician Dr. Richard Sztramko have also launched a series of live question and answer events. The first two attracted over 1,200 views and the next will be broadcast on November 7, 2018 at 1pm EST.

Levinson says the response so far has been tremendous. “Please make use of the site. We’re really grateful for the opportunity and pleased about the response.”

Screen shot of website entitled "Bringing Clarity to Dementia".

Website offers help to caregivers.

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