Facing dementia together
Caring for someone with dementia can bring with it a spectrum of emotions. It can be rewarding and challenging in equal measure. If you’re in a caring role putting that person first can often be your default, but you can’t overlook your own needs.
Looking after yourself
Look after your health by carving out ‘me’ time. This will benefit everyone, by helping you feel better and manage your caring role. It’s easier said than done, but try to take time out for yourself each day – even if it’s only ten minutes to relax with a cup of tea, listen to the radio, or get some fresh air. You also need to eat well, take regular exercise and get enough sleep.
Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms including memory loss, mood changes and problems with reasoning and communication skills. These symptoms occur when the brain is affected by certain diseases or conditions. To find out more go to our dementia pages
Getting practical help
As a carer, you’re not alone. Contact the local council’s social services department to ask for a free carer’s assessment to see what help you might need and to understand what would help you manage better. The person you’re caring for can get a needs assessment too. You both might benefit from a professional carer’s support, home modifications or respite time. You could get Carer’s Allowance, if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for the person and they get certain benefits.
Your caring role might lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. It can be difficult to share these feelings, which might leave you feeling isolated, but it’s important to acknowledge these feelings.
Take time together
Despite the challenges you may be facing, there is more to the person you are caring for than their dementia. There’ll be good days and bad days, but you can still share good times together.
Creating a memory book or life-story book can help you both remember special times. You may also find local activity groups for people with dementia and their carers, such as exercise classes, book groups or music groups. Find local groups and activities by contacting your local Age UK or Alzheimer’s Society.