Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: My sister lives in another town and is looking after our mother. What can I do to help?  How can I get information to them that would help both of them?
A: In some communities, services exist to assist people with their long- distance caregiving tasks. See Section 1 for a discussion of caregiving at a distance.

Q2: My father is getting very forgetful and confused. I’m worried about his state of mind. Can I talk to someone or get my father some help?
A: Section 1 outlines a number of factors that may indicate that a person is in need of care. In addition, Section 8 describes some of the signs indicating that a geriatric or psycho-geriatric assessment may be warranted.

Q3: I am feeling really exhausted and depressed. Sometimes I feel angry and cheated. Are there other people out there who feel the same way, and how can I talk to them?
A: Section 2 is all about taking care of yourself; this section provides a number of tips and strategies related to self-care and helping family caregivers deal with the demands of caregiving.

Q4: If I don’t get a break from this situation soon, I won’t make it. How can I get even one morning a week off ?
A: In Section 2, respite is defined as getting a break and freedom from worry. Services exist to help enable family caregivers to take a break, and Section 9 contains information about how to access respite services and other supports for family caregivers.

Q5: My parent is not safe living on her own. I’m pretty sure he needs to go into a home of some kind. Where can I get information about this?
A: Section 3 provides a brief discussion of memory and cognitive changes with aging, as well as warning signs of dementia. Section 8 outlines factors indicating that a medical and/or psycho-geriatric assessment may be in order, as well as contact information to arrange for an assessment.

Q6 I want to help my parents, and I do what I can, but I work full time and still have the kids at home. It is really too much. What can I do?
A: Section 4 provides an overview of strategies that caregivers have found to be helpful in dealing with the multiple demands of caregiving and employment. This section also outlines Human Resource policies and benefits designed to promote flexibility and work/home life balance.

Q7: I’m confused by the names of all the different health care positions. What does each of them do?
A: See Section 5 for a capsule description of the roles of a variety of service providers. Section 5 also provides information about communication and relationship-building between family caregivers and health care providers.

Q8: My mother has dementia and my sister has had Power of Attorney for four years. I’m worried that my sister might be taking advantage of my mother financially. What might I do about this?
A: As discussed in Section 6, the Public Guardian and Trustee has designated agencies to respond to situations of adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect, and financial abuse is definitely included as a possible area of abuse. On Vancouver Island, the Vancouver Island Health Authority is the designated agency to respond to situations of possible elder abuse.

Q9: My mother’s arthritis is getting quite serious, and she’s finding it harder to get out and do her shopping, errands, etc. What kinds of services are out there to help her with her day to day activities?
A: Section 7 is all about community-based support services that could help your mother (and you in supporting her), and includes information on delivery services, meal/grocery delivery, transportation, and medical alert systems.

Q10: What is a “long term care assessment,” and when would you look toward arranging for one?
A: A long term care (LTC) assessment is done to determine a person’s eligibility for programs such as home care nursing, adult day programs, respite services, and subsidized home support. Information about LTC assessments and other types of assessments is found in Section 8.

Q11: I think my aunt needs help with bathing, and my friend suggested that we try to arrange for a homemaker or home support worker to come in to assist with personal care. How do we go about setting this up?
A: Section 9 talks about both private and publicly funded (i.e., subsidized) home care/support and outlines how to arrange for an assessment to determine eligibility.

Q12: I’m very confused about all the changes that have taken place in the system in relation to facility care. My mother is very frail, and although we’re managing fairly well with the home support that she’s getting , I’d really like for her to get on a waiting list or be assessed for a facility. How can I arrange for that?
A: Although wait-listing is no longer permitted, you could contact the General Enquiries Line of the Vancouver Island Health Authority (250-388-2273) to arrange for an assessment for residential care for your mother. Section 10 is all about moving from home to facility, and it discusses this assessment process as well as the differences between residential care and other living options.