Caring for someone living with dementia… you don’t have to do it alone
Caring for someone with dementia is like riding a roller coaster of emotions. It can feel extremely rewarding to spend extra time with your loved ones and be there to fully support them. However, you may also go through grief where you feel your loved ones are being replaced by someone you don’t recognise. You may also feel that you have less and less time for everything you used to do before becoming a carer.
Available support services
Being the carer for someone with dementia can be both physically and emotionally taxing, but there are support services available to ensure that you get the care you need too.
Counsellors can provide invaluable advice and assistance to both carers and people living with dementia. Organisations that provide free counselling services include Carer Gateway and Dementia Australia.
Visit the Carer Gateway (in-person or phone counselling specifically for carers) or Dementia Australia (individual and family counselling for both carers and people living with dementia) websites for more information on counselling services.
Knowing more about dementia and how it affects the person going through it can make it easier for you to care for them. Dementia Australia has a range of education programs that cover:
- Coping with changes in behaviour
- Making your home dementia-friendly
- Dealing with grief following a dementia diagnosis
- Online learning (webinar sessions and courses) covering topics around dementia and the process of moving into an aged care facility
Visit the Dementia Australia website for more information.
Carer support groups
No one knows what you’re going through better than people who are going through it themselves. Carer support groups can put you in touch with other carers so you can share advice or have a safe place to talk about your role as a carer.
Visit the Dementia Australia website or call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for more information about support groups in your area.
Respite care can give you a break while someone else takes over your caring duties. Different arrangements can be made, ranging from planned activities that take place weekly to overnight respite and short stays in residential aged care homes. Government subsidies are also available on respite services.
Visit the My Aged Care website for information on planned and emergency respite services available here.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is tough. And much like the advice of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else in a plane, dementia carers need to learn to look after themselves first so they can give the best care to their loved ones with dementia and avoid burning out.