This week is Dementia Awareness Week, we spoke to our Dementia Caseworker, Jane about caring for a loved one with dementia.
What drew you to working with dementia carers?
I have previously been a carer, three times. One of those times was looking after my mum who had dementia. It was a very stressful time as I was still working full time while caring. I feel that it has given me a different perspective on caring and on dementia.
Every case is different and unique, and each carer has unique support needs. We make a lot of referrals to social services, AgeUK and the Alzheimer’s Society. Locally we try and do a lot of collaborative working, and I meet with professionals from local organisations including from the Memory Clinic regularly.
Are there any common problems that dementia carers face?
One of the most interesting thing about working with dementia carers is that everyone’s situation is unique; I have to tailor my support to their needs. It’s such a varied and complex disease.
Something that carers can often face though, is the impact of the anxiety felt by the person they are caring for. People with dementia can become very attached to the person caring for them, and can suffer from severe anxiety if the carer has to leave them. This can be very upsetting for carers, and they can feel a lot of guilt about taking a break or having to go out and go to work or shopping or to appointments. I provide a lot of emotional support to carers in these situations, and make a lot of referrals for carers to access counselling. I also recommend a factsheet by the Alzheimer’s Society on guilt as well as a course that carers and family members can attend. I attended the course myself, and it was very helpful.
This week is Dementia Awareness Week, by 2025 there will be 1 million people in the UK living with dementia. Many of them will be cared for, unpaid, by their loves ones. For information on how we can support carers of people with dementia, contact us.