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Practical Insights for Busy Caregivers

Maintaining social connections

It's easy to lose touch with important people in your life when you become a caregiver, but going it alone can be hazardous to your health.

Madeleine Roske

"That initial reaching out is difficult, but" - Madeleine Roske, caregiver

video (42 sec)

…that initial reaching out is difficult, but what I found, because I have done some of it – and this is wonderful – you approach someone and say something like, “Well, do you think sometime you could do such and such… you could come in?” And they are delighted that you asked, even if there’s no specific dates, it’s just “Yes! I’m more than willing, and I’m so glad you asked.” And when they respond that way, it’s feedback to be able to continue to ask.

Kristina McLaughlin

"Talk to your friends because you are not on your own in doing this." - Kristina McLaughlin, care coordinator

video (39 sec)

Talk to your friends because you are not on your own in doing this. You’re not the first person who’s had to do this. And you don’t have to go through all those same hurdles, because someone else has done it. And it can be a casual conversation with a friend. It can be when you’re at the hospital and those people that are around you in the hospital as well, they’re going through the same thing. Completely different story, but they have to access the same things, and they need ideas. So, if you’re in the hospital, go to the lounge, go to the cafeteria. Talk to people. Listen to people. They’ve already done it. Or they’re trying to problem-solve it too.

Eileen Cunningham

"It’s easy to go to work and come home and look after your partner and do nothing else" - Eileen Cunningham, caregiver

video (53 sec)

Try if possible – as time permits – to keep yourself involved with your own personal support network. ‘Cause it’s easy to go to work and come home and look after your partner and do nothing else. And that’s fine, because that’s your natural instinct, that’s what you want to do. You need to work, you need to bring in the money, you need to look after your partner. And there’s not a lot of time to do too much else. But I think it’s important to try and carve out a bit of time because once they’re gone, you have to start from scratch again. That’s definitely what I found.

Madeleine Roske

"The first thing you do is you make your list." - Madeleine Roske, caregiver

video (1 min 1 sec)

Well, I think the first thing you do is you make your list. And what I noticed when I looked down my list before I spoke with anyone was that most of the people on the list – maybe ten or so years younger, up to older – they were all people… and I think when you get to our age, you have experienced loss in your life in one way or another… these were all people, I noticed, had gone through different experiences that would make them maybe more understanding of what a caregiver with a spouse who has dementia… And that was before I spoke to anyone. And then I think because of their experiences, when I approached them, it was… they didn’t need to think about it very long. It was something that they would gladly do.

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