RECENT CHANGES RELATED TO HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE
On May 31, 2017, home and community care services and staff transitioned from the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) to the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). LHINs plan, integrate and fund local health care. Now, in their expanded role, LHINs deliver and coordinate home and community care. The transition to the LHIN is an administrative change and does not impact the care provided to patients.
The information below is still accurate and is a vital resource for patients and caregivers. We will update the content soon to reflect the new role of the Central West LHIN.
Overwhelmed? Eight Tips for Caregivers
Ahhh, the holidays. For many, 'tis the season for merriment, twinkling lights, and gathering with family and friends. But for those caring for a loved one, all that fah-la-lah-ing can produce anxiety as well.
"It's not uncommon for caregivers to feel additional stress this time of year," notes Cathy Hecimovich, CEO, Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). "The holiday season is joyous for many, but it's also often a very busy time. Add the additional time and energy we expend this time of year – no matter how pleasant the activity or event – to an already-packed caregiving schedule, and it's easy to see how people can become overburdened."
If you or someone you know is struggling with balancing it all this season, the Central West CCAC has compiled eight tips that can help:
1) First and foremost, take care of yourself. "This can be the biggest challenge of all," Cathy notes, "but it's tremendously important. If you're not well, it becomes even more challenging to take care of someone else." Try to be mindful about eating well, drinking enough water, getting some exercise and fresh air, and getting enough rest. Write yourself a reminder if you have to. It might sound impossible now, but every little bit helps.
2) Ask for help. It's not selfish to ask other trusted family members and friends to step in so you can have a breather. Even an hour or two to yourself can do wonders for your ability to cope.
3) Focus on your loved one's strengths. If appropriate, safe, and realistic, encourage them to do more for themselves and acknowledge their efforts. They'll feel less dependent on someone else, and you can focus on the tasks that are uniquely yours to do.
4) Appreciate your own efforts. Draw strength and comfort from the dignity, care and love you provide, and remember that it is not your responsibility to "fix it all." Schedule yourself some time to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the season.
5) Find support in your community. Try visiting the Central West Healthline (www.centralwesthealthline.ca) for reliable, up-to-date information about over 1,000 health care services and supports in our area. As a start, try selecting your location from the top of the screen, then click on "seniors," followed by "Care for the Caregiver" to find supports near you. You can also search by age group (child through senior) for programs that provide supervised activities for your loved ones, giving them some interaction while you get a break.
6) Have your questions about in-home care or community health care services answered by the experts. Call the Central West CCAC at 1-888-733-1177 to speak to a health care professional with the expertise to help.
7) Download a free Caregiver Support Guide here (or call #1-888-733-1177, ext. 7264 for a complimentary print copy). This comprehensive guide is designed to be a resource not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.
8) Pick up a "Caregiver Tip of the Day" during December – and share your own with others! – by following @CWCCAC on Twitter.
The Central West CCAC believes that those who care for others are heroic. The organization honours caregivers annually through their Heroes in the Home caregiver recognition awards – stay tuned for more information in 2014!