If you need solutions, you’d better get to work

By Wendy Johnstone
October 1, 2010

shutterstock_305463878“Are you part of the solution or just ALL of the problem?”

My mother’s spin on an African proverb packed the same punch around our household and quickly shut down any whining and complaining.

It’s easy to spot the problems. Solutions, on the other, require us to work (usually harder than we want to!).

Busy and stressed caregivers need ways to find solutions to their aging loved one’s problems. Our community is rich with different sources of help. But unless you know what’s out there, it may be very difficult to find the help you need. It also takes time to locate agencies, professionals and resources.

Part of the solution comes with increasing awareness of community supports and resources to help in the caring process.

Think Blue and Yellow: Some of this information can be found by looking under the Blue Pages in your local telephone book or ONLINE — be it the municipal, city or government section.  Typically, these listings are publicly funded services. Some communities have a Resource Directory for seniors which list all available nonprofit and government based services.

Been There, Done That: Sometimes our best resources are friends, colleagues and neighbours in the same boat or those who were recently caring for a loved one. The service or professional they’ve tapped into just might be what you are looking for! Or check out a local caregiver support group for ideas on finding help.
Get in Contact:

Once you’ve gathered a list of places to call, consider the following method to quickly and efficiently gather the information you need on resources and services. Use this method for both publicly funded and private pay services. Keep a separate sheet for each contact.

  1. What services do you provide?
  2. Is there a cost?
  3. If so, how much?
  4. Are subsidies available?
  5. If so, How do we apply for a subsidy?
  6. Is there a wait list for services?

Ask for more information such as brochure or application, name of client/customer representative.

Once you’ve completed your research phase, the next part of the solution is to write out possible interventions and how best to implement action. Typically, this involves presenting options and making decisions based on needs and preferences of your aging loved one and caregiver.

You’ll want to monitor the extent to which the intervention has, or has not, addressed the problems identified, and modify your plan or go back to the drawing board as needs change.

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“You are amazing! What I tried to do in 2 months, you did in 1 week. You’ve helped us navigate the system, made sense of Mom’s disease, and gave back her independence and control. Thank you for making such a difference in Mom’s life and giving us, her family, complete peace of mind.”

– Mike G., Nanaimo, BC

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