Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor said, ‘Good luck, Mrs. Webster.’

Claire Webster called the “Mental Illness Gift” started by McGill’s Dementia Education Program.

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Many people think that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with dementia. But early signs and symptoms often involve subtle changes in behavior or behavior, says Claire Webster, founder and ambassador of the University of McGill’s Forgiveness Program.

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Her mother, Vieno Leskinen, was also found to be an al-Qa’eda operative. She used words that her three beloved grandchildren did not know. Her manuscript has changed. She wore a winter coat for the summer tennis match.

“She knew she had a special feeling, but she didn’t want to be talked about,” recalls Webster. “I reluctantly took her to the doctor.”

The doctor diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and revoked Leskinen’s driver’s license and referred him to a neurologist.

Ask the doctor, ‘What now?’ Her mother replied that she could no longer live on her own and said, “Good luck, Mrs. Webster.” I just got a prescription for care. ”

She was 38 years old in September 2006. Her mother was 74 years old. Webster had no clue how to get help from the healthcare system.

“They were thrown into a caregiver role and they didn’t even realize it. You don’t know the issues. How to get permanent home care support? What is the role of CLSC? What kind of tax credits should you get?

“I wish I had made that first doctor’s appointment, pushed it, and said, ‘Tell me what resources there are.’ But I was like a deer caught in a flashlight, ”says Webster, the only child.

“I can’t adequately emphasize the importance of learning and seeking first aid.”

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At the time of her mother’s diagnosis, Webster’s three children were under 10 years old and worked full-time with a design company.

She moved her mother to a private home, which was good at first. But as Leskinen’s situation worsened, he said: “The staff was not trained to take care of people like her.

A.D. In 2008, Leskinen needed emergency hip replacement surgery; No one has created Webster to know what happens when a person with Alzheimer’s disease enters the hospital. I have not been told about the anesthetic effect or the experience of the anesthesia. “

During her stay in the hospital, her mother spent many months in a rehabilitation center. Webster was there every day as her lawyer.

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“And my kids ‘why don’t you take me to football?’ They would go. Or ‘Why are you not like other mothers?’

“I was caught up in caring for my little ones and my mother. For them – and for my wife and I wanted to do the best I could. I was running like a chicken with its head cut off, ”she recalls.

My biggest mistake was trying to be a superhero.

Claire Webster baptizes Webster's little girl with her mother, Vieno Leskinen.
Claire Webster baptizes Webster’s little girl with her mother, Vieno Leskinen. Photo courtesy of Claire Webster

Webster did not realize the consequences of his grief. “When you look at the cognitive and physical decline, you are constantly grieving.”

She is angry. “I was outraged by what the disease had done to my mother and to my life – and I was outraged by the health system.”

A.D. In the summer of 2011, Webster “was abducted. She suffered severe burns.

“Healing begins” during relapse and psychotherapy

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She began volunteering with Alzheimer’s Group Inc. (AGI), family counseling and public speaking about the impact of the disease on family caregivers. People from the wider community came to her aid.

Talk to Professor AGI at McGill School of Physical Therapy (SPOT): Will a caregiver share her story? Webster developed a PowerPoint presentation, showing photos of her mother speaking to 70 students.

Students lined up to hug and praise her and told her how her caring mother was experiencing.

A.D. In 2012, Webster’s mother moved to a public long-term care facility, saying, “She was receiving wonderful care until the last day. Leskinen died four years later at the age of 82.

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A.D. In 2015, Webster spent a lot of time volunteering and found it very useful, with encouragement from her husband, professional recognition. She completed a certification program as a dementia care consultant and another senior counselor.

A.D. Caregiver Crosswalk Inc., a consulting firm providing education and support services for caregivers with memory loss in 2016 She established it.

A few months before Leskinen died, Claire Webster was with her mother, Vieno Leskinen.  “My biggest mistake was trying to be a superhero,” says Webster.
A few months before Leskinen died, Claire Webster was with her mother, Vieno Leskinen. “My biggest mistake was trying to be a superhero,” says Webster. Photo courtesy of Claire Webster

She continues to be an annual guest lecturer for McGill Physio and Occupational Therapy students, and in 2016 a professor told her that she should teach medical students. A.D. In early 2017, Webster had a meeting with Dr. David Edelman, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, on the subject. Shortly afterwards, she was invited to develop the McGill Dententia Education Program, a community access program that began that year.

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The driving force behind the program, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the McGill Steinberg Simulation and Interactive Learning Center, Webster works with a team of multidisciplinary health care professionals to develop family care programs.

She will train future health care professionals, including SPOT students and medical students. She has spoken to social work students and will soon be ready to speak to nursing students.

The co-academic / medical directors of the program are two in charge of Alzheimer’s disease: Dr. José Morais, Head of the Department of Nursing and Dr. Serge Gautier, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

A.D. When physical workshops were banned in early 2020 due to the CVD-19 epidemic, they were replaced by a site called McGill Kers. More than 60 episodes passed. They can be viewed at mcgill.ca/dementia or heard as podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google.

The Mental Health Help Guide can be downloaded for free in English or French from the website above.

“My mother’s illness is a gift,” Webster said of the program. The end of many challenging years was “to do what I am doing now.”

At a glance

Learn more at mcgill.ca/dementia and carecrosswalk.com.

sschwartz@postmedia.com

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