Managing Dementia Care From Another Country

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If Only I Can Remember By Regina Posvar

Q: Dear Regina, My cousin found your website regarding dementia care in St. Lucia. I am living in France and my mother with dementia lives in St. Lucia. I am the only child she has and I have my own family in France and we can help her here.

However, with doctors’ advice, it is not possible to have her travel at this time. I have two concerns: firstly, my mum has a new housekeeper who moved in with her six months ago and has pretty much taken over her home. I will be back in St. Lucia in a month to help my mum as she has not been paying her bills. This is not like my mum at all. My mum has good pension and can pay these things. The housekeeper has access to my mum’s account and has not released it to me. What laws does St. Lucia have to protect the elderly who are unable to make executive decisions like this? The other concern is: does your company have the capacity to care for someone with dementia?

A: I am so sorry to hear this and it is concerning to me from a human right and financial abuse aspect. There are protection laws out here for St. Lucia. Unfortunately, the enforcement is not strong. However, it is not a waste to exercise it.

You do need an attorney, all medical records stating your mum’s condition and a list of all bills not paid so you can get a type of power of attorney for when someone is no longer able or capable to make these decisions. Guardianship is the main goal and I understand this takes a lot of time, unfortunately. A lot of damage can take place before guardianship is completed.

The other thing you can do is tell the housekeeper to move out. There are no laws protecting a live-in of six months.

Angels of the West Indies (AWI) does have trained caregivers that can help your mum. An assessment to see how independent she can be with support in place and level of her dementia will be evaluated. AWI works closely with St. Lucia Alzheimer & Dementia Association (SLADA) for additional support.

AWI can provide 24/7 care. You can call us to meet via phone conference for consultation and we can set up evaluation when you arrive to St. Lucia. Please understand that although you live in another country while your mum is in our care, your involvement is still required to make the quality of care for your loved one effective.

Q: Dear Regina, Both my parents live alone and my mum has dementia. It is not a confirmed diagnosis but we are familiar with the symptoms because our grand-dad had it and we went through all the stages with him. He was much older and my mum is only 63. The problem is my dad. He insists on caring for her and wanting no one to help. He has been doing this for a year now and I see it is wearing on him. How can we help our dad see he needs help?

A: Caring for a spouse living with dementia comes with a lot of dynamics. There is frustration of not completely understanding what is happening and not accepting that our own behaviours cause more confusion to the person with dementia.

To answer your question, you can connect with the St. Lucia Alzheimer & Dementia Association and have them do an awareness session with you and your family to include the caregiver fatigue. They can do a mini-assessment of your mum and determine her level of dementia and then help your dad understand that he will need support and to accept help from family, friends and the communities to give him a break to care for himself.

Spouses of loved ones living with dementia are the hardest to get respite relief for as there are dynamics around care and responsibility associated. There is also not wanting strangers or other family members to care for guilty reasons of feeling like “no one can care for them the way I can.” This is usually true; however, most care takers will eventually become overwhelmed and neglect their own health and possibly can deteriorate before the person with dementia.

SLADA can help families involve other family members more and help families choose a trained person to help to give relief. It can be a slow process for the spouse to understand and accept help. Approach your dad with patience and love and let him see it.

World Alzheimer observed is the month of September. Wear your purple and show support by sending pictures to email below or SLADA Facebook group. Remember the support meeting on September 30. Notify for more information.

Send questions to [email protected] or text 758-486-4509.

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