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Caring for someone with Dementia

Caring for a partner, parent, family member or friend with dementia can cause a significant change to your life. There is support available.

Taking care of yourself 

Loneliness and isolation are common amongst carers and can escalate to depression, anxiety or other stress-related conditions. It’s important to take care of yourself.

Talk about your feelings – whether with an understanding professional, other people in a similar situation or a trusted friend. Get your feelings out rather than bottle them up.

Relieve tension – find what works for you to relieve built up feelings. It might be crying, shouting, or hitting a cushion! Or singing, dancing or laughing.

Keep up your social life– invite friends over for a chat or ask them to phone you regularly. Share what’s happening with you and make sure they keep you in the loop with events and activities you were previously a part of.

Talk to your GP – if you are very tired, can’t sleep, or feeling low or anxious, the best person to speak to is your doctor.

Take breaks – taking regular breaks can keep you in touch with the outside world and raise your morale. Just relaxing with a cup of tea or having a good chat on the phone will help you recharge your batteries.

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Your relationship

Whether you are caring for your partner, parent or other relative with dementia, the nature of your relationship with them will inevitably change. It is important to remember that you are not alone in the challenges that this may present.

Your local Carers Centre may have specialist support groups or there may be local Alzheimer’s Society groups in your area.

NHS Choices also offers some advice on how to manage the changes to your relationship.

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Dealing with unusual behaviours

You may experience a change in the behaviour or manner of the person you care for who has dementia. This might mean shouting, screaming, pacing, fidgeting, repeating themselves.

This can be challenging, frustrating and upsetting. Learning to understand why these behaviours occur can be helpful in coping with distress.

Remember that you don’t have to deal with this alone. Specialist help is available:

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Equipment and assistive tech

Gadgets, equipment and assistive technology can help people living with dementia stay independent and safe for as long as possible.

Small things like memory aids or adapted cutlery to help with eating and drinking can reduce stress. Stairlifts or other mobility aids can adapt the home for longer-term use. Buzzers or alarms can be fitted to alert you when an external door is opened if the person you care for is wandering.

Alzheimer’s Society has information about staying independent and sell products in their shop.

We may be able to help with the cost of equipment. If there’s something which could support you or the person you care for and it isn’t available through your local health and social care service, apply for financial assistance.

Note: for specialist equipment we may require a recommendation from a health professional.

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Managing care

A Carer’s Assessment is crucial in order to get help and support from social services. This assessment covers a wide range of issues such as healthcare, equipment needed, care at home or residential care options. As a carer, you are also entitled to a Carer’s Assessment of your own needs.

Many people with dementia will eventually need support in a residential home. It is sometimes possible to arrange a trial period in a care home but remember that this could lead to more confusion and distress.

Social Services, your Admiral Nurse and Care Choices UK will be able to discuss care options with you in more detail.

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useful links

Dementia UK

Helpline: 0800 888 6678
Email: helpline@dementiauk.org

Specialist dementia nursing charity that is there for the whole family. Their Admiral Nurses provide free, life-changing support and advice to anyone affected by dementia.

Pathways Through Dementia

Helping people unravel the legalities of the dementia journey such as paying for care, managing finances and welfare benefits.

Alzheimer’s Society

Helpline: 0333 150 3456

Offers dedicated support to those who need them as well as campaigning for change and funding groundbreaking research for a better tomorrow.

How we can help and support you

Money worries and legal matters

Dementia can bring new financial concerns. From state benefits or managing debt to Power of Attorney and Wills, help is available.

Financial assistance

We may be able to support you with unexpected costs. Find out if you are eligible.

Jonathan’s Story
With the support of the Charity for Civil Servants, I was able to develop a variety of strategies to help me balance work and home life.
Jonathan's Story

Got a question?

If you are not sure what you need or have question, contact us.

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