Chief Executive, Carers UK
Caring for a loved one who has dementia can come with its challenges. However, there are some small things you can do that might make life a bit easier.
It can start with small jobs – doing their shopping, picking up medication – and over time it becomes more intensive as they require more support. There can be so many practical things to consider, including when to get professional help. On top of the practicalities, a loved one’s altered emotional and mental state can make it feel like there’s a huge amount to shoulder.
Don’t delay – talk now
It’s important to open up conversations around plans for the future, so speak to the person you care for about what they really need as early as possible. Avoid putting off these conversations until there’s a crisis; if you act now, you can avoid making life-changing decisions under pressure. In addition, your relative may no longer have the ability to express their wishes if they have lost mental capacity.
Caring for someone with dementia can feel lonely at times and it’s important to know that you’re not alone.
Getting organised can help take the stress out of managing someone’s affairs, whether that’s getting their utilities sorted or ensuring their wishes are met in the long run. Check out Carers UK’s factsheets on dealing with services and considering options like power of attorney or deputyship.
Reach out for support
Caring for someone with dementia can feel lonely at times and it’s important to know that you’re not alone. The Carers UK forum is a supportive online community of carers who understand the ups and downs of caring. Carers can also join other carers for an informal chat at our Care for a Cuppa online sessions, or take part in a stimulating Share and Learn session. Sharing an experience or a problem with a fellow carer can make a world of difference.
Take a break
Looking after someone with dementia can be demanding, requiring a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to take time out to recharge. Sometimes it’s easier said than done but finding time for yourself – even 10 minutes of an afternoon – to do something you enjoy doing can leave you feeling more refreshed. You could ask friends or family for some support or find out if there is a local service, such as a sitting service or day centre, that could help you on a regular basis.