Caring for a family member who has dementia is one of the most difficult things that a person can do, but it’s also one of the most profound acts of love that there is. For people with dementia, it’s the care of their loved ones that makes the difference and means that they can live a comfortable and meaningful life.
Caring for someone with dementia is hard work, and it’s not something that it’s easy to take a break from.
When you’re worried about a family member, it’s tempting to try and be there all of the time because you want to make sure they’re OK, but it’s important that you actively prioritize your own needs – you won’t be able to help anyone if you’re completely burned out.
Some things that you can do are:
- Involve other family members in the care process as much as possible. This not only ensures that the burden isn’t all on one person, but it means that you have other people to talk to who really understand your family members’ care needs when you’re making decisions.
- Talk to someone. Seek out a local carers support group or call a national helpline and talk about what you’re experiencing. Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction. Talking will help you to better deal with things.
- Research respite carers who can help you by taking on your caring duties for a day or two at a time, to give you a break.
It can also be difficult when you need to provide care for a family member because caring is a full-time job, and many of us already have full-time jobs, which we need in order to pay our bills!
It’s worth doing some research on which disability benefits you could be entitled to as a carer, as this will help to ease some of the financial pressure.
People with dementia often become confused and disoriented and don’t know where they are, and they can also become angry and act out as a result.
It’s important that you maintain a sense of empathy in the face of these difficult situations by trying to imagine what your family member is going through. This will help you to be a better carer for your family member.
Dementia can progress rapidly, so it’s important that you prepare yourself for the future. There may well come a time when it’s difficult to manage your loved one’s dementia at home, and it’s a good idea to prepare for this by researching elderly care homes so that you know what your next steps are.
Doing this while your loved one can still have some input into the decision-making process is a great idea, as then you will know that they are happy with your decision.
The best way that you can help yourself when it comes to supporting a family member with dementia is to learn as much about dementia as possible.
This will help you to feel more prepared, and better able to care for your family member.