For carers of people with dementia there are a number of factors which might affect their situation:
- feeling they have ‘lost’ their partner, parent or friend and experiencing emotions similar to a bereavement;
- extra financial burden;
- an increased risk of mental health problems, in particular depression and anxiety;
- physical exhaustion;
- feelings of guilt;
- coping with the stigma of dementia;
- the reaction and response of others;
- coping with changes in the person’s ability to cope with everyday life.
These issues can be helped by encouraging carers to maintain their own support from friends and family. It can also help carers if they are in contact with other support networks for carers of people with dementia.
The relationship between the person with dementia and the people providing everyday support is crucial. Therefore providing information and education about dementia to family members and significant others is essential.
Carers say that having knowledge about dementia and how to respond to the person makes a huge difference and helps them. There are a number of resources aimed at providing information and advice for carers of people with dementia.
It is also important that the main carer has an assessment of their needs undertaken by the local authority social services, because carers are entitled to financial and emotional support to help them in their caring role.
The Alzheimer’s Society has dedicated web pages to help family and friends of people with dementia http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200343
Information and support
It is important to connect people with dementia and their carers to all available supportive organisations.
In your notebook write down contact names, numbers and the services they offer.