Support for carers
If you care for a friend, relative or loved one with dementia, you can access emotional, practical and financial support to help you provide the best possible care and support.
Taking care of yourself
Looking after someone living with dementia can be extremely rewarding, but can also involve a considerable amount of work and attention in order to provide the best possible care and support.
Many people who have a family member with dementia find themselves in the role of full-time or part-time carer. And when you are looking after someone around the clock, you might find it difficult to think about your own needs, get enough rest, or take part in activities you enjoy.
But you may not be able to continue caring for the person with dementia if you neglect your health, or if you don’t have enough support or time to recharge your batteries. It’s a bit like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else during a flight emergency: by looking after yourself first, you’re more likely to have the strength to look after the person you care for.
Dementia UK has published new advice on how people looking after someone with dementia can receive a Carer’s Assessment: an assessment of their financial and practical needs which is conducted by their Local Authority or Local Council Services.
Through home visits from a social worker, the Carer’s Assessment establishes the impact that caring for a person with dementia is having on a carer’s life. It then identifies the relevant support to allow the carer to continue caring for a person with dementia for as long as they want to and are able to.
This support can include things like respite care to allow a carer to make time for themselves or even training to allow them to care for the person with dementia in the safest and most appropriate way.
Caring for someone with dementia can lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it may not be appropriate to share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings, and to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to feel. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, or you're struggling to cope, talk to your doctor who can let you know about the help and support available to you.
A new service for carers, the Carers Partnership will help you get support in your caring role, find local services, look after your health and wellbeing, connect with other carers and understand your rights. Partnership members include Age UK Berkshire, Age UK Reading, CommuniCare and Reading Mencap - all have a successful track record of working with carers.