When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them – including their carers, family and friends need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.
When caring for someone with dementia, it can be all too easy to ignore your own needs and to forget what matters to you.
It is far easier to cope if you look after your own health and wellbeing, and there is lots of support available
People who care for someone with dementia often talk about feeling guilty, even if others are reassuring them that they are doing the best they can.
As a carer, you are likely to feel a wide range of emotional responses to your situation – both positive and negative. This is because, although caring can be very rewarding, it is also hard work and can be extremely stressful. Some of the emotions that arise, such as frustration and anger, are healthy responses to challenging circumstances. They can be useful, helping people to move forward. But other emotions, such as guilt, can be more difficult to deal with, and leave people feeling powerless or ‘stuck’.
While each person’s experience is different, guilt can be a very tiring emotion, consuming energy that you need for other tasks. If you have identified that you have feelings of guilt, you have already taken the first step towards addressing these feelings. The next steps are to:
- work out where these feelings come from
- realise that you are not alone in feeling this way
- find ways to develop a more positive attitude and to be more forgiving of yourself.
- There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.
- There are over 17,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.
- There are over 25,000 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
- There will be over a million people with dementia by 2021.
- Two thirds of people with dementia are women.
- The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every 5 year age group.
- One third of people over 95 have dementia.
- 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.
- Delaying the onset of dementia by 5 years would reduce deaths directly attributable to dementia by 30,000 a year.
- The financial cost of dementia to the UK will be over £23 billion in 2012.
- There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK
- Family carers of people with dementia save the UK over £8 billion a year.
- 80% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia or severe memory problems.
- Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home.
If you are looking for support http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
If you have concerns about Alzheimer’s disease or about any other form of dementia, Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.
- The Helpline is usually open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm.
- The service may be closed occasionally during these times for operational reasons or because of staff shortage.
- Callers speak to trained Helpline Advisers.