Should I use a video communications tool like Facetime or Zoom or the phone when I’m trying to connect with my family member with dementia from a distance, in the midst of contact restrictions imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic? This was one of the most resonant and emotionally charged questions raised by family caregivers and discussed with Dr. Sadavoy and other caregivers in attendance at our 2nd Caregiver Check-In event, held on May 14, 2020.
Dr. Joel Sadavoy reflects that while caregivers don’t call themselves heroes, their vital dedication to caring for their family or friends with dementia, is the fabric of who they are. As essential as family caregivers are to the reality of ‘care at home’, their need for care themselves, is equally as vital.
Dr. Joel Sadavoy MD, is the founder of Geriatric Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital, Sinai Health, the medical director of the Enhancing Care Program for Ontario Dementia Care Parnters, and a leader and innovator in the "care of the caregiver" model. He founded the Reitman Centre for Alzheimer's Support and Training and the ground breaking flagship CARERS program, a unique skills training and therapeutic support program for family caregivers of a person living with dementia. Founded over 10 years ago, this unique evidence-based program offers caregivers unique individualized support and training through the use of patient simulation and expert coaching methods.
This crisis of home care and unpaid family caregiver support, without which our healthcare system would collapse, has only become increasingly more noted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as the massive cracks in the models of institutional care for the senior population have become more publicly visible and public policy and the awareness of the need for improved models of homecare and long-term care have surfaced across our province, our nation and in fact, world-wide.