A bi-monthly newsletter published by the Caregiver Support Program. Male caregivers: reluctant to seek help. November December 2012

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1 A bi-monthly newsletter published by the Caregiver Support Program November December 2012 Male caregivers: reluctant to seek help 35 hours per week. Though we know some of the statistics, we know very little about how men deal with the caregiving role. Across Canada an estimated 4 to 5 million unpaid caregivers provide some form of support to their spouses, friends or neighbours. That support can come in many forms: Physical care, transportation, household chores, attending to financial matters or providing companionship are only a few examples. Possibly because women live longer, they also make up the majority of those caring for a loved one. Still, the number of male caregivers is significant. In Canada, there is an estimated 1.5 million men who are unpaid caregivers. According to an American organization the Family Caregiver Alliance, men and women over 75 years of age provide about the same amount of care, an average of Women are likely to cope by reaching out to their network of friends, attending support groups and seeking out community resources; men are often less likely to do so, possibly because they have been brought up with the traditional belief that they should be selfreliant. To make matters worse, men report feeling less confident about the quality of care they are giving compared to their female counterparts. It can all add up to burnout, deterioration in health and poor quality of life. For the last five years Robert Simpson, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, has been caring for his wife who has Alzheimer s disease. As her disease progressed, so did the demands of caring for her. When her symptoms became severe, almost two years ago, she was placed in a care facility. However, it was different while his wife was living in the couple s home.

2 The Family Caregivers Grapevine Page 2 Male caregivers continued Mr. Simpson had re-organized his schedule to care for her, and even though friends offered to help, he was hesitant to take it. My experience, he says, has been that women are more likely to reach out for help than men. Men say if it ain t broke, don t fix it. Mr. Simpson says he experienced a huge range of emotions as his relationship changed. As his wife s disease progressed, he found he was becoming frustrated and saddened at his inability to communicate with her as he once did. The lively conversations they had enjoyed were no longer possible. My partner is still who she is in some ways, but the essence of her is gone. How do you grieve for someone who is still there? he wonders. Men s group facilitator Dean Rath believes men are conditioned to suppress their feelings of grief. He uses storytelling and drumming workshops to help men get explore their emotions. In his 20 years of experience he s found that men-only groups provide a nonjudgmental setting where participants can let down their guard and discover others share similar experiences. That in itself can be extremely healing, he says. Mr. Simpson found support through regular meetings with his counsellor. He also joined a support group for caregivers and support group for husbands. He has some advice for men who are caregiving, Don t be afraid to reach out for help to help you looking after your partner don t be afraid to talk about your feelings and your difficulties. It s advice that may take some courage to follow, but in the end it could lead to better health for men and those they care for. Sources of support for all caregivers North Shore Community Resources Caregivers Program. Contact them by at or by phone at North Shore Family Services offers counselling to people of all ages. Cost is by sliding scale. Contact them by at or by phone at Living Systems Counselling is a non-profit organization that provides counselling to individuals and families. Fees by sliding scale. Contact them by at or by phone at Group Facilitator Dean Rath, or

3 November December 2012 Page 3 Respite: as good as a holiday Respite comes in all kinds of forms. In fact, respite looks different for each person. If digging in the garden for an afternoon renews your spirit, then it s respite. If you need a week at a seaside resort, that s respite too. The important thing to remember is to take respite even when you don t think you need it. Regularly stepping away from your caregiving duties will help the person you care for become accustomed to getting assistance from others. When you really must have time away, your loved one will feel secure in your absence, and you may worry less, too. Many community organizations provide organized trips that can simplify planning and make it easier to get up and go. Some of these include Silver Harbour Senior s Activity Centre, Capilano Community Services Society Senior s Hub and West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre. Continuing Educations programs through local universities and colleges offer a huge range of guided holidays. Check their calendars for excellent adventures like cooking classes in Tuscany, coffee lovers trips to Nicaragua, or eagle-watching day trips. You may want to check with your favourite resort; many offer special package deals during the low or shoulder seasons. If taking a little trip is out of the question, create your own mini-hoiliday. Allow yourself a couple of hours at the local library or bookstore to browse through the titles. Visit an art gallery. Go for a walk. These simple activities will help you change your focus from your caregiving concerns to something else and a change, they say, is as good as a holiday. Tips for Happiness in Two Minutes or Less Browse through a family photo album Walk around the block Inhale your favourite scent Play your favourite music Say hello to a neighbour Smile Prevention magazine

4 The Family Caregivers Grapevine Page 4 NSCR Caregiver videos This summer we created three short videos. We re happy about how they turned out and invite you to take a look at them and recommend them to other family caregivers. We re Here to Help Take Good Care of Yourself We d like to say many thanks to our Office Administrator Helen Wait, who has worked in the NSCR Caregiver Support Project since During that time she met many of our caregivers, either over the phone or in person. She went above and beyond the call of duty, not only running our office, but also helping with events, and publicizing programs. She provided a great deal of support to her colleagues in the Caregiver Project as well as to those in the wider NSCR agency. She also organized two extremely successful open houses for North Shore Community Resources. Helen continues her work in non-profit agencies at Molly Nye House in North Vancouver. Best of luck Helen. We miss you! You are Not Alone Thanks to the family caregivers who volunteered their time to be part of the filming. If you can t view them online, you can watch them on the TV monitor in the NSCR lobby. Survey Results Thank you to those who returned our social media survey. We appreciated your comments. Interestingly, all the responses we received were mailed in, and indicated that caregivers were not interested in a Facebook page. As of the end of September, we have had no online responses. If you haven't done so, you can fill out the survey at or fill out a paper copy here at NSCR. The Facebook page would be an additional way for us to offer support to caregivers, but would not replace any current caregiver programs.

5 The Family Caregivers Grapevine Calendar Page 11 November 2012 Calendar of Events Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1Caregiver Network Group 7-9 pm Men s Drum Circle 6:30-9 pm Caregiver Network Group 10:30-12: Finding Your Rhythm: An Exploration for Women 6-9 pm Accessing Healthcare Effectively 30 1:30-3:30 pm The Caregiver Support Program is for people who are caring for an adult friend or family member. You are a caregiver if you assist someone in any of these ways: coordinating care, providing emotional support, assisting with decisions, doing housework or preparing meals, providing personal care. We offer education sessions, network groups, information and consultation related to the emotional and practical aspects of caregiving.

6 For information and registration regarding all sessions, please contact Karyn by at or by phone at Caregiver Network Groups We meet each month in two groups: the first Thursday of the month from 7:00 to 9:00 pm and the second Wednesday of the month from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Join us in an atmosphere where it s okay to discuss the challenges and positive experiences of caregiving. Learn how to access health care and community services; take the time to care for yourself; and increase your confidence in your caregiving skills. NSCR, Room 203, Capilano Mall, 935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver. Men s Drum Circle Inviting all men who provide emotional or practical support to a spouse, parent, relative or friend. Join facilitator Dean Rath to explore your story, discover rhythms together, find your sources of courage, and gain renewed perspective. Dean is a musician and former school teacher. He enjoys working with groups of men and encouraging them to find places of healing, awareness, and freedom in their lives. November 6, 2012, 6:30 to 9:00 pm, John Braithwaite Community Centre, 145 West 1st Street, North Vancouver. Finding Your Rhythm: an Exploration For Women Inviting all women who provide emotional or practical support to a spouse, parent or friend. Through singing, listening, drumming and dancing we will explore self- discovery, creative expression, and awareness of what makes you feel most alive. Facilitated by Brian Hoover and Shasta Martinuk. Brian is a lifelong musician and violinmaker with a gift for leading groups deeply into self-awareness and inner silence. Shasta practices sound healing and guides others to connect with the joy and power of rhythmic music. November 20, 2012, 6:00 to 9:00 pm, West Vancouver Community Centre, 2121 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, main floor Garden Room. Accessing Healthcare Services More Effectively Join us for presentations from local healthcare providers. Find out about case management for community care, rehabilitation services, and geriatric outreach. Learn how to access community support services, how to plan for transitions from the hospital into the community, and how to communicate more effectively with your physicians and healthcare team. Thursday November 29, 2012,1:30 to 3:30 pm, West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver.

7 The Family Caregivers Grapevine Calendar Page 13 December 2012 Calendar of Events Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Caregiver Network Group 7-9 pm 7 8 Hanukkah begins Caregiver Network Group 11:30-1: Hanukkah ends Christmas Day 26 Kwanzaa festival Boxing Day New Year s Eve Wishing you a Happy New Year! December Network Groups: Potluck Parties to Celebrate the Winter Season You are invited to come and enjoy each other's company, partake in a feast of flavours and relax while listening to music. Thursday, December 6, 7:00 to 9:00 pm; and Wednesday, December 12, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Both potlucks are at Capilano Mall, Room 203.*Please note the one hour time change from Wednesday s usual time, so that we can have lunch together. Live music will add to the festivities!

8 Are you a family caregiver? The Family Caregivers Grapevine is a bi-monthly publication that seeks to support family caregivers by promoting the importance of self-care and providing practical information. If you have any questions or feedback about the newsletter, please contact Josie Padro by at or by phone at , local 106. North Shore Community Resources The Caregiver Support Program Suite 201, 935 Marine Drive North Vancouver, BC V7P 1S3 You are if you provide any of the following types of assistance to a friend or family member: personal care: dressing, bathing, eating household work: house cleaning, shopping, errands, preparing meals, yard work coordinating care: transportation, appointments, arranging services, visiting support: phone check-in, supervision, emotional support nursing care: giving medication, changing dressings The Caregiver Support Program provides the following types of programs and activities: family caregiver network groups stress management and relaxation workshops telephone support and individual consultation educational workshops information and referral to community services library with books, videos, and other educational resources Contact: or by phone at Resources for Family Caregivers BC 211 Info Line Capilano Community Services Society Crisis Line (24/7) Health Link Nurse Line (24/7) Lions Gate Hospice Society Lions Gate Hospital North Shore Disability Resource Centre North Shore Home and Community Care North Shore Grief Recovery North Shore Palliative Care Program Seniors Peer Support Program Older Adult Mental Health Seniors One Stop or

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