10 ways to cope with dementia as a family

Someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds.

Dementia can be a daunting diagnosis which can test the strongest of families. It can raise many questions. How fast will it progress? How will it impact me, Mum or Dad? Will it mean going into a care home? Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there to help support people with dementia.

Here is some advice around how to cope with dementia as a family.

  • Get an accurate diagnosis: This is important so that you understand what to expect, what you are dealing with and how to deal with it.
  • Communicate regularly: Keep your family members updated and informed of all the changes in your loved one’s condition. This can help the family stay aware of the situation and reduce confusion.
  • Consult with professionals. A family meeting with a professional such as a GP may be needed to make sure that everyone gets the resources that they need. The main carer can sometimes become the keeper of information because they are the one who deals with the situation on a day to day basis.
  • Learn skills and techniques: The behavioural changes that come with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are often difficult to manage. Going to a local dementia group or charity can be a great way to learn strategies to better manage these changes.
  • Expect change and learn to manage it: Dementias are continually changing conditions. Family carers sometimes find local support groups or professionals helpful resources when learning about the condition.
  • Help with the main carer’s needs: be attentive to who the main carer is. Otherwise, resentment can build. Regularly look at what must be done and how the main carer can get some rest.
  • Allocate tasks: Every family member can help in some capacity. List everything that needs to be done and ask people to help with them. Things such as money management can easily be done remotely.
  • Think about the family legacy: What will happen to the family dynamic after your loved one is gone? What would you like the legacy of this experience to be? What sort of relationship would you like to have with your siblings? Ensure that the stress of being a carer doesn’t harm your relationships with loved ones.
  • Tap into resources: You can never have too much information when it comes to managing the potential behavioural changes of dementias.

To find out more about the services we provide, or to make a suggestion for a future topic, please write to me at info.blyth@homeinstead.co.uk or by post to Home Instead South East Northumberland, Blyth Workspace, Unit T04, Commissioners Quay, Quay Road, Blyth, NE24 3AF. Alternatively, you can also call us on 01670 338542.

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home