Caring for a loved one with a dementia can be challenging, tiring and lonely for relatives and carers, and so often we forget that we need to look after ourselves too.
Jo Bonser, MD of Hcsuk, speaks from her own personal experience, having taken 4 months away from work to care for her own Mum, aged 97, living at home with vascular dementia.
‘My Mum would get extremely anxious if I was to leave the room, just to make a cup of tea, and would even follow me and shout at me for nipping out for a much needed loo break! So my days were spent sitting beside her in the same room from the time she got up until going to bed, with her repeatedly asking me the same questions – it was exhausting. Luckily I had my Border Collie, Hollie, living with us and my daily sanctuary came when a carer would relieve me for an hour and so I could get out in the fresh air and walk in nature, one of my favourite things to do.’
So this week we want to take a slightly different approach to normal, and look at activities that are designed for people living with a dementia to enjoy, and carer support groups that offer a valuable space for carers to connect with others in the same position to share experiences and gain strength and support from each other.
We’re going to start off with some of the activities we have discovered in and around our location in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire and we’re sure that there will be others in your area too. If you don’t know of any, the website makingspace.co.uk is a fantastic resource to help you find local events and support groups.
One of the regular styles of events is based around “musical memories”. As we know, music can release very evocative and powerful memories for us all and in particular for people living with a dementia it can be a gateway into the past. These sessions can be complemented by relaxed activity sessions, working on simple crafts and activities to engage carers and those they care for.
We have also found that there are carer support groups around once a month in most areas, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, this would be a good place to get help and speak with those in a similar situation.
We understand that it’s hard work and can be very challenging to care for loved ones living with a dementia, and we hope that by sharing these activity group ideas and the website at makingspace.co.uk you will be able to find support and help in your area for you and those in your care.
We are very passionate about our values here at Hcsuk, and we want to help those who do this very hard and often unrewarded job, by offering advice on the best fit-for-purpose product solutions, guidance on where to find the best information and by working with the care community to improve staff training and confidence.
For more information on our range of Dementia Enabling product solutions, please give us a call on 01773 713713 and we can help you find out what will help you and those in your care.
We would also love to hear from you with how you take care of yourself if you care for a loved one living with a dementia, or any local groups you know about and would like to share. ☺
Coming up on the blog we’re going to be looking at opportunities to take your loved ones on holiday if they live with a dementia.