As the dementia progresses, you may find yourself struggling with your own wellbeing or with feelings of depression or guilt. Caring for yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one living with dementia. In this chapter of ‘One step at a time’, our dementia experts discuss how to look after yourself and what sources of support are available.
Caring for someone living with dementia can be emotionally and physically draining, so it’s important to make time for yourself.
Dementia expert Suzanne Mumford suggests small bursts of meditation, gardening or doing a jigsaw puzzle. Go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air or take time out for a coffee and a chat with a friend.
Once you've been able to rest and unwind, you'll then have the energy to provide the care your loved one needs.
Finding support groups in your community early on will help you to have a smoother dementia journey. Find your local care home and pop in to chat and see if they have groups or resources that can help. Being a carer isn’t easy, so meeting others in a similar situation who can share experiences is really important.
Make time to meet up with your friends, too. It's important to keep in touch. You may find it helpful to share any worries you have with close friends. They may have experience with dementia themselves and their advice could provide you additional support and reassurance.
Take time early on to educate yourself about dementia and the changes your loved one is going through.
Your local care home will have more dementia information and will be able to answer questions you have about changes in behaviour or how to respond when your loved one's symptoms are progressing.
It's important to take regular breaks from caring for your loved one. Whether it’s a few hours enjoying a hobby or a few days for a mini break, try to recognise when you need to rest.
Many of our care homes offer respite care to give family carers a well-earned break and a chance to unwind. You might find that a short stay in respite care opens up an honest conversation with your loved one about moving into a care home and can help familiarise them with a care setting before they move in full time.
Day centres are also available to provide a few hours of respite for you and an enjoyable day out for your loved one.
If you decide that it’s time for your loved one to move into a care home, you can rest assured that the teams in our Care UK homes will work hard to make your loved one’s transition as seamless as possible.
Many families feel guilty and worry about the stigma associated with care homes, but the families of residents living in Care UK homes often say they wish they’d made the decision sooner.
Our care homes offer a warm and welcoming space with care that’s tailored to your loved one’s needs. Many relatives say that the relationship with their loved one improves when they no longer have to worry about being their carer. This allows their time together to be quality time as a daughter or son rather than a carer.
Is a care home the right next step for you? Find your local care home to learn more.