Monday, August 22, 2011

Caregiver Leave
The Ontario government is proposing to expand protected leave from work by allowing caregivers to spend more time with family members who cannot care for themselves because of serious injury or illness including cancer or stroke.

[For more information, read my previous post.]

Yes, it is a good idea, as all the Ontario Liberals are broadcasting in this a provincial election year. But  But we need to go much further.
Children's Aid (CAS) offers Kinship Care services. They support family members (e.g., aunts/uncles, grandparents) in providing care to relatives. Many are unable to provide care without the social, emotional, human and physical, and financial resources they can offer.

For those of us giving up jobs to care for failing seniors, adult parents or grandparents, there needs to be much support. Leave Without Pay (LWOP) is something that many employers offer. For those with few or no benefits, it may be too little. Yes, it is important to have a job to return to after the dust settles. But how many of us are adept in navigating their way through the healthcare system?

signs of pain
It was criminal, the way I was (un)treated, as my mother lay dying on the couch. No one offered me the support of Hospice volunteers. I never knew they existed. No one offered to give me respite. My relatives, e.g., near-by cousins, offered unsolicited advice (hire a foreign maid to live with my parents), but what I needed was real help. Meals, moral support, and a shoulder to lean on.

Yes, many of us end up in depression. I am just recovering; Mom died on Mother's Day weekend, 2006, Dad in February, 2007. Caregiver stress and the burdens we face, limit our abilities to work, deal with the daily stress of living, let alone dying. Employers do not understand. My boss, a principal, was heartless. She rode me hard during those days. Undiagnosed depression is another symptom of caregiver stress in seniors caring for spouses and parents. I have knowledge of 70-somethings trying to provide care for 90-somethings. It is difficult.

I offer informtion to my hospice clients. But, as a volunteer, I cannot afford to attend all of the palliative care conferences. I share my expertise and usually offer them one of my books. The professionals are sometimes hard-pressed for time and energy to deal with all of their clients.
Providing a handout that indicates the signs and symptoms of pain (something underdiagnosed and untreated in many), is important, too.  Caregivers need information on the difference between dementia and delirium.

The Media, in all its collective wisdom, is fueling complaints about healthcare

A wave of discontent with the nation's health care system is sweeping across Canada, with the vast majority of Canadians revealing they feel like outsiders who are powerless to influence their own health care.

Many of us support a complaints system, an Ombudsperson, for example. The system isn't broken, and political hacks must refrain from using this fodder for election purposes. We need Patient Navigators, much like the FirstLink that the Alzheimer Society offers. But mostly, we need respite, relief, home care, and consistency across the system. We need more support workers, and better trained Personal Support Workers.

We need geriatric programs, not those who diss the system.

Getting seniors healthy and back home

Within Eastern Ontario, the Queensway Carleton’s revamped geriatrics unit is considered a leading...

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