As Robert speaks about his everyday life with Susan, his wife of 25 years, it’s clear he’s an organized, loving and thoughtful caregiver. But it hasn’t been easy.
At an appointment with Dr. Joy Liao, at the Langley Specialized Seniors’ Clinic, Robert discusses Susan’s slow drift into dementia. He tells Dr. Liao about the early days before her diagnosis, to today, and how he manages looking after himself as well as his caregiving duties.
Susan (her name changed for privacy) is just one of a growing community of older adults with access to personalized care at Langley Memorial’s new and expanded Specialized Seniors Clinic.
With Fraser Health forecasting that the population of seniors aged 75 years and over will grow 30 per cent by 2025, and 149 per cent by 2040, more seniors will need access to regular, as well as specialized, care.
The new clinic provides a single destination for older adults dealing with the effects of aging that lead to frailty, and for their caregivers, who need to build relationships and find support in the community.
“Our clinic’s goal is to improve the function, quality of life and resilience of older adults so that they can remain in their own homes as long as possible, and out of the hospital as much as possible,” says Dr. Liao, one of three geriatricians at the Langley Specialized Seniors Clinic, which includes nurses, physical therapist, occupational therapist, pharmacist and clinical coordinator.
Alongside the clinic, home visits play an essential role in improving the resilience of seniors and helping them live independently, in the best health possible by performing comprehensive assessments and where necessary, arranging resources – like physical therapist home visits, options for housekeeping services or meal deliveries, and blister packs for organizing pills – to make life easier.
Healthy seniors are a measure of how well a society is doing, says Dr. Liao.
“Older adults are valuable members of every community. Most contribute to the economy: they shop, they use services which employ people, and they pay taxes…and many volunteers are usually in their senior years,” she says. “Our seniors make significant contributions to our society and we all benefit from that.”
To make a donation to support seniors care, visit lmhfoundation.com/donate.