Dee Campbell, 77, is typical of many caregivers. When her husband Bill, 86, was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, she assumed his care needs with barely a second thought. "I just did what needed to be done and never thought of asking for help, she says matter-of-factly." As Bill's condition slowly progressed it became harder for Dee to manage his complex health needs. In addition to dementia, Bill has suffered two heart attacks and has osteoarthritis. "I had to be talked into using respite care because I'm the kind of person who was going to do it all myself." Maybe it's because of their caring nature, but most caregivers find it difficult to ask for help.
Dee credits the support of caring health professionals, including Champlain CCAC Care Coordinator Melanie Neale with helping her access support and plan for the future. "Melanie not only looks at my husband as the client, but she also understands where I'm coming from as a caregiver and she knows the dynamics of our family," explains Dee. Dee's beloved husband Bill is now in a long-term care facility – his care needs became too advanced to maintain him at home. Dee says she is grateful for the support she received helping manage this transition.