Saskatoon woman calls for better support for Alzheimer’s patients

Saskatoon woman calls for better support for Alzheimer’s patients
WATCH ABOVE: A Saskatoon woman pleads for more coordinated care for Alzheimer's patients after going through what she calls a "confusing" system.

A Saskatoon woman says support for families with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s can be improved.

Jackie Stokvis-Flaherty’s father died of dementia two years ago. She said the process to get him help was slow.

“It seemed to be quite some time before we actually knew that he had Alzheimer’s,” she said.

“It felt like a mess, because it was just like, we kind of didn’t know where to go.”

READ MORE: There are many faces of Alzheimer’s disease, Canadian society says in new campaign

It took two years for her father to get an official diagnosis from doctors. In the meantime, the condition got worse.

“When there wasn’t a clear diagnosis at that time, it’s kind of hard for anyone to do anything,” Stokvis-Flaherty said.

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She believes a referral to the Alzheimer’s Society of Saskatchewan should have come immediately after he was diagnosed.

The organisation helps provide support and guidance for families dealing with a loved one with dementia.

It was also difficult finding affordable dual-care housing, so that her mother could be with her ailing father. They eventually found a long-term care home for him, but it was expensive.

“There’s gaps in our services,” Connie Snider of the Alzheimer’s Society of Saskatchewan said.

READ MORE: Is ‘flashing-light therapy’ a promising treatment to fight Alzheimer’s disease?

The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada is pushing for a national strategy to deal with dementia, that would seek to improve support and care.

“With a dementia strategy, a national dementia strategy, that would just coordinate those. Our system would be that much clearer. There’d be more money for research, there’d be more money for programs, and there’d be more money for institutions to provide better care,” Snider said.

“We’d certainly be interested in looking at anything that the federal government would have to propose,” Linda Restau, who is the director of continuing care and rehabilitation with the Ministry of Health, said.

“We would however ensure that it would be the best thing for Saskatchewan residents. And that Saskatchewan residents would receive the best care.”

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