Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Training Caregivers Not To Underestimate The Abilities Of People With Alzheimer’s Disease, Promoting Independence


This article resonates with me.
When my father was dying, it was a struggle not to help too much..and to make sure he made the decisions he was capable of, and physically moved on his own as much as possible.

Last week, as part of my volunteering at a senior residential center, I took a resident shopping. Although she had recently returned from the hospital, I did insist she go into the store with me (I was thinking exercise, she doesn’t move around much) …on the pretense that although she had a list, that would be the only way she would be assured she’d get what she needed.
She did manage! and thankfully wasn’t in pain (at least she didn’t complain).
As a volunteer at our local Area Office on Aging, it is challenging to offer options, but allow the clients to make their own decisions. Active listening is hard at times, but it does pay off in the end.


From the 21 July 2012 article at Medical News Today

Family members or professional caregivers who do everything for older adults withAlzheimer’s disease may just be wanting to help, but one University of Alberta researcher says that creating excess dependency may rob the patients of their independence and self-worth.

U of A psychologist Tiana Rust, who recently completed her doctoral program, says her research indicated that caregivers adopted a “dependency support script,” assuming control of tasks they believed patients seemed no longer capable of doing for themselves. She says this model shows that the caregivers’ beliefs, rather than the person’s real abilities, drove their interactions with the patients. Her research also showed that the caregivers’ actions were also seemingly incongruous with their values of wanting to treat patients with respect and promote their independence.

With an aging Canadian population, the number of people suffering from the disease is expected to increase over the next 20 years, she says. Thus, changing behaviour becomes critical – and she’s hoping her U-of-A based research will help spark that change.

“When we create this excess dependency that doesn’t need to be there, this is a problem,” said Rust. “1.1 million Canadians are projected to have dementia by 2038. So, if we’re able to maintain and promote independence to the degree permissible by the disease, that’s important.”

Help not necessarily wanted ….



July 23, 2012 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment


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