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Understanding Dementia 2020

Caring for someone with dementia: Taking breaks is a necessity

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Helen Walker

Chief Executive, Carers UK

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on families, especially on our older relatives living with dementia and family members caring for them.

The pandemic has been a stressful time for unpaid carers with the vast majority (70%) having to provide more care for the person they support.

Though many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, life remains challenging for some families needing support from face-to-face day services, such as day centres. Many are still closed and it is unclear when they will reopen again, leaving some people caring for relatives with dementia unsure about when they will next be able to get a significant break from caring.

It can be difficult to find the time to take a break from caring, but it’s vital for maintaining good health. Here are some small things carers can do that could make a big difference:

Do an activity you enjoy

Allocate time in your day for an activity you really enjoy – whether it’s to read, write, cook, or do some gardening. Encourage the person you care for to make time for activities they enjoy, too.

Find moments for yourself

Exercising mindfulness, even just by listening to music, is a great way to find calmness and peace of mind. With help from online guidance, many people find seated exercises, yoga or dance helpful to relax too.

Keep in touch

Keep in contact with friends, and family and others with a simple phone or video call. Talking about your feelings with someone who understands can be a massive relief and release. It can also be refreshing to hear what others are doing!

Support from other carers

Caring can feel overwhelming at times so it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Why not join one of Carers UK’s Care for a Cuppa video chats to talk with other carers who understand the ups and downs of caring. You may also find the Carers UK forum helpful – it’s a supportive, online community of current and former carers who can support you through everything caring has to throw at you.

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