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Five Essentials for Carers Looking After Someone with Dementia

If someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, you may be feeling apprehensive about the future and how you will cope with caring for them.

An increasingly popular solution is live-in care, where a professional carer will look after your loved around the clock. Our partner, Elder are currently offering Silversurfers members the opportunity to try a week of 24-hour live-in care, completely free of charge and obligation-free.

However, if you are planning on taking on the carer role yourself, approaching having the right attitude – a blend of positive, realistic and knowledgeable – will ensure that you are able to plan for, and feel more in control of the challenges ahead.

We look at five essential things to know when caring for someone with dementia…

Be Realistic

Things will undoubtedly change, and new challenges will present themselves. The baseline of success will always be that the person you are caring for feels safe, and is as comfortable and happy as possible.

You will have good and bad days, and so will they. Neither adds up to more than a moment in time, but it’s important to acknowledge this and keep perspective.

Be Positive

One person’s “realistic” is another’s limitation. And with so much being done to challenge notions of the kind of life that people who are living with dementia can have at all stages, it is worth exploring the options out there.

Elder’s Care Advice provides a helpful resource with interviews and articles on innovative developments in the dementia space to give you inspiration – from personal stories, to dementia adventure holidays, to the power of the arts and the role of technology in supporting independent living. While life will change over time for the person with dementia, and their carer, there is support and opportunity out there to still enjoy life.

Accept Support

Don’t try and do it all yourself. Caring for someone with dementia can take a toll on health

and wellbeing, and it is crucial that you look for and accept help. This could be a support group where you can share your concerns and feelings in a sympathetic environment, or the offer of flexible working from your line manager at work. Look into local dementia resources – the Alzheimer’s Society is a great first-stop resource for information on the support available to carers.

Plan for the Future

Dementia is progressive and changes are inevitable – never get too used to the status quo. Make sure you and your loved one discuss a power of attorney while they still have cognition so you can respect their wishes, as well as care options and financial planning.

Continually reassess the care needs of your loved one, which will increase as the disease progresses. Thinking ahead allows you to make positive proactive decisions, rather than reactive ones at a point of crisis.

Caring for someone with dementia is challenging, and you may start to think about options such as care homes. Research shows that the majority of older people would rather remain in their own homes – and there are alternatives to care homes, such as live-in care.

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