Looking after a friend or relative who has dementia is often very challenging. It's as important to look after your own health, as it is that of the person with dementia.
What support is available for me if I care for someone with dementia?
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and cope better with your caring role.
Caring for someone with dementia may lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it can be difficult to share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or struggling to cope stressed, talk to your GP who can let you know about help and support available to you.
How can I support someone as their dementia progresses?
In the later-stages of dementia the person may become increasingly dependent on others for their care.
They may have severe memory loss at this stage and fail to recognise those close to them. They may lose weight (especially if chewing and swallowing are difficult), lose their ability to walk, become incontinent, and behave in unusual ways.
Not everyone will show all these signs, and some people may show them earlier on in the illness.
Carers’ groups can be a good way to get support from other carergivers who understand what you’re going through and can share their own experiences. Most groups meet regularly and may offer speakers, leisure activities, trips and simply time to sit and chat.
Ask your dementia champion - Terry Cheung