Caring for a loved one with dementia can bring a number of challenges every day, none more so than during a pandemic and a period of extended isolation within your home. From practical obstacles like getting them up, dressed and fed to on-going difficulties like coping with inappropriate behaviour, mood swings and depression, to being isolated in your home with little face to face contact with the outside world – life as a carer for someone with dementia isn’t always easy.
As a result of the challenges they face on a day to day basis, it’s all too easy for carers to become overwhelmed. Once this happens, it becomes a lot harder to provide your loved one with the care they need. To ensure you’re able to cope as well as possible with the challenges that caring brings, we’ve put together some tips to prevent you becoming overwhelmed by dementia.
Take regular breaks
Caring for someone with dementia takes a huge amount of energy. If you don’t take regular breaks, you’ll soon begin to feel drained both physically and emotionally so it’s essential you take the time to look after yourself.
If you’re the sole carer for a loved one with dementia, talk to friends and family about getting a little extra help. Alternatively, get in touch with local support groups or ask your GP about the help that’s available in your area, there is still support available despite the restrictions brought about by the coronavirus – it just may take more time to access it.
Join support groups
If you feel like you’re going through dementia alone, you can easily begin to feel overwhelmed. Talking to others about your experiences is a very good way to de-stress and get the support you need to cope with the challenges dementia brings.
Joining a support group will also show you that you’re not alone. Hearing the experiences of other carers, and talking about your own life looking after someone with dementia, is very important if you’re going to stay positive and meet daily challenges head on. There are many online forums and groups operating on Zoom, you can find the Dementia Network forum
Look for the positives
Looking for the positives in life is another good way to avoid being overwhelmed by dementia. Try to find something positive to focus on every day. If you can, go out for a short walk in a local park, make a tasty meal or enjoy listening to some of your favourite songs.
If you don’t have any time for yourself, try to find positives in your relationship with your loved one. If they have a good day, are able to remember you lucidly or enjoy an activity you’ve planned, try to take as much pleasure from it as possible.
The more you know about dementia, the easier it will be to understand why your loved one behaves in the way they do. This can make it much easier to cope with the symptoms of dementia and can help to prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.
If you don’t yet know much about dementia, put some time aside to head online and do a little research. Alternatively, explore The Dementia Network site where you will find lots of practical information about the condition.