Support for carers is available for people who care for somebody with dementia.
Caring for somebody that has dementia can be rewarding but also frustrating, hard work and often a thankless task due to the nature of the condition the person is suffering from.
But there are times when even a carer need help. There are many organisations that provide support for a carer. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are a carer of somebody with an illness.
We take a look a some of the ways that you as the carer can get help and support so you don’t end up needing care yourself.
The importance of being a carer
The position of the carer is one that can have many roles including helping the individual with washing, dressing, cooking and cleaning to name but a few of the jobs and tasks you will have to carry out on an almost daily basis.
If the person you are caring for is at a stage of dementia that the sufferer is struggling to recognise who you are, then it can also feel like you are undervalued, disrespected and never thanked for the role of the carer.
The one thing you must not do as the carer is work yourself so hard that you end up needing care yourself. This could be through exhaustion, stress or through depression.
We take a look at 4 ways in which you can avoid becoming a victim of your own care giving.
1. Support for carers groups
Join a support group that gives support for a carer as well as support to those with dementia. Many of these support groups can give the carer emotional support and helpful tips on how to care for an individual. They understand what you are going through when caring for somebody with dementia. Groups that give support for carers can also give advise on where to seek help locally and put you in touch with your local organisations.
2. Regular breaks
Try to take regular breaks from caring for the person with dementia by having other relatives, friends or organisations help you by doing the caring for you on a regular basis. Even if they only help by giving you a few hours off from caring a week, you will feel that it helps.
Respite care is a great way to take a break from caring. Social services can recommend to you respite care workers and nurses that will be able to help you take a break.
3. Plan for the future
Create a health and care plan. If the person you care for has a disease that leads to dementia then unfortunately the disease is more than likely a degenerative one.
It will not get better with time, so planning for the long-term health care and welfare of the individual will help reduce your stress of constantly responding to the needs of the person.
If the person is in the early stages of dementia you should talk to the individual and try to plan for the future taking into consideration what the individuals wishes are.
4. Healthy lifestyle
As the carer, you should try to have a healthy a lifestyle as possible. By eating good healthy food such as fruit and veg and taking regular exercise you should enable yourself to be as mentally and physically fit as you could possibly be. If you are fit you may even want to give support for carers yourself.
If you are in good mental and physical condition you are more able to cope with the mental and physical stresses and strains that come with caring for somebody with dementia.
I hope the above four points help you with caring for somebody with dementia. Although there are many other ways that you can get help. I think the most important thing to do is to try not to do everything yourself.
There is no shame in getting help with things like cleaning the house, shopping for groceries or seeking help from outside organisations.
Use support groups if you can, that’s what they are there for, to give help and support to a carer as well as individuals with dementia.
If you would like to find information on support for carers have a look on our groups and organisations page or please recommend them to us if you know of an organisation that can help other carers.