Dealing with the ramifications of dementia

Two reports of deaths among older adults – seemingly due, in part, to the negligence of neighbors – have hit the Canadian media (see here and here).

Caregiving for someone with dementia is one of the most difficult tasks someone can take on. Caregivers need to be helped – and doing this is of increasing social concern with the daunting increase in people with dementia projected in the next 10 years.

However, Western society is one that favors privacy and autonomy, and it is not well defined when it is appropriate for someone – a neighbor, a family member – to step in and offer help. Rather than blaming the neighbors of these older adults who passed away, it is more constructive to consider solutions that work within our current social norms to facilitate the provision of necessary help.

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