The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the serious deficiencies in how we provide care and social support for people impacted by dementia in both congregate and community settings. The recent outbreaks have also amplified issues faced by the health-care workforce that have long been known about and can no longer be ignored. There’s an urgent and vital need to make things better.
Trying to balance the needs of care home operators, the health-care workforce, residents and family members throughout the pandemic has been difficult. Operators are trying their best to keep the virus out of their buildings. Consequently, families who provide an estimated 30 percent of care in long-term care homes were locked out for several months. There are many heartbreaking stories about the impact of separation. Families are an essential part of the care team and can be educated on infection control and proper use of personal protective equipment. Family care partners must not be denied access during outbreaks or future waves of the pandemic.
With day programs, recreation, respite and most home care services cancelled, people impacted by dementia living in the community have largely been ignored. Many family caregivers referred to as “the invisible backbone of the Canadian health-care system” are struggling.
The Next Chapter
This will be my last issue as editor, and I am very pleased to pass the reins to incoming editor, Carolyn Brandly. Carolyn has an exciting vision for the future of Dementia Connections magazine.
It has been my privilege to share stories of people impacted by dementia, and to use this magazine as a platform to raise public awareness, reduce the stigma of dementia, provide people living with dementia and their families with information about dementia, to showcase promising research and to serve as a reference for the dementia workforce.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to editorial advisors Kimberly Shapkin, Sarah Salus, Ann Toohey and, posthumously, Duncan McLean, for their wisdom and input on the magazine content. Also, thank you to Meredith Bailey and Jill Foran of RedPoint Media for their patience and guidance.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us and for letting us know the positive impact of reading those stories. [ ]
With deepest gratitude,
Lisa Poole Founder and Editor DEMENTIA CONNECTIONS