ALPA launches book/kit to assist caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients

‘A Helping Hand’ is the result of a collaborative effort by staff and volunteers

Friends and supporters of the Association Lavalloise des Personnes Aidantes (ALPA) got together “virtually” through a Zoom videoconference on Oct. 8 to launch an exciting new information guide and kit, offering an exhaustive range of useful knowledge to persons caring for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

A group effort

Various friends and supporters of the Association Lavalloise des Personnes Aidantes (ALPA) are seen here in this screenshot from the Oct. 8 Zoom videoconference launch of “A Helping Hand,” which provides valuable help to caregivers of persons afflicted by Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

“A Helping Hand: A concise guide for caregivers and people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia” is the end result of a collaborative effort between the book’s author, Nancy Goulet, a social work intervention worker at ALPA who has experience with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, along with a team of four similarly-experienced ALPA volunteers.

Publication of the book was made possible through a grant made by the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

During the videoconference, Quebec Minister Responsible for Seniors Marguerite Blais delivered a pre-recorded speech in which she praised ALPA for its efforts to develop the book and kit. Sainte-Rose MNA Christopher Skeete and Vimy MP Annie Koutrakis took part live in the launch and also praised ALPA’s staff and volunteers for their resourcefulness.

Consisting of video capsules along with a book, the kit holds the potential to become a highly practical tool for anyone whose life is impacted by Alzheimer’s. It offers quick answers to everyday Alzheimer’s problems, including housing questions, personal finance dilemmas and hygiene issues.

A work of love

After an initial launch date set for last June had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the author, who is also the operations coordinator at ALPA, was more than pleased to finally be able to launch the kit, “which is a project very dear to my heart,” she said.

According to Goulet, the goal was to create a book and kit that would provide help to caregivers tending daily to the needs of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or related diseases. Related conditions can also include gradual and irreversible degeneration of the brain.

These conditions include Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, cerebrovascular diseases, frontal-temporal degenerations, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Huntington’s disease.

The impact on caregivers

Caregivers can see their lives seriously impacted when the capacities of loved ones are reduced to the point they need help on a regular basis. Things as simple as getting out of bed, washing up, choosing what to wear, dressing, eating properly and getting to appointments, become difficult or impossible for those in need of help.

The book makes a handy reference tool and can be used by simply referring to the table of contents to find a particular theme, leading to an appropriate chapter, where useful information can be found.

The book can be read a little at a time, or can even be leafed through depending on your interest in a particular topic. In this way, you can gradually build up knowledge on various aspects of caring, while learning about the tools and means available to meet loved ones’ needs.

Helpful ALPA volunteers

The ALPA volunteers who helped Nancy Goulet produce “A Helping Hand” were Louise Bastien, president of the ALPA board who is caregiver to a daughter who has Down syndrome, as well her mother in her 90s; Jean-Luc Gervais, a volunteer at the Centre d’écoute de Laval and a caregiver to several family members; Renée Legault, a caregiver to her mother and father; and Annick Livrozet, a CHSLD volunteer.

The volunteers who helped with the guide and book also served as narrators or actors in the video capsules that are part of the kit. “A Helping Hand” can be purchased for $15 from the Association Lavalloise des Personnes Aidantes (ALPA), 1850 le Corbusier Blvd., Suite 100, Laval, Quebec, H7S 2K1. Phone: 450-686-2572.