Tips for carers

Monday, 12 June 2017 – Nursing
Tips for carers

During Carers Week 2017 (12-18 June) the Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board are highlighting some helpful tips for carers of a loved one who is living with a dementia:

Don’t forget about number one …

When caring for someone don’t forget about your own needs, make sure to take some time out, have a short break, meet with friends and treat yourself. How can you look after others if you don’t look after yourself?

Take a helping hand …

If you can, share the care with friends and family by arranging a rota and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It is good to talk …

You are not alone and it is good to be frank and honest with people you trust and can help you. Link in with your local dementia navigator and other healthcare staff in your Trust to ensure your loved one has regular reviews of their care package. Their needs will change and it is important to get the right one for them, as well as this there are great volunteers in communities right across Northern Ireland that can offer support.

Every day is a school day …

We can always learn and there are many support groups and training sessions available where you can pick up extra tips on how to support a person with dementia. You’ll also meet people who like yourself have a caring role and have the opportunity to broaden your circle of friends.

Remember you are only human …

Don’t forget that you are doing your best and there are things that you won’t be able to change. Acknowledge your importance to the person with dementia and the positive difference you are making to their life.

Interests and hobbies are key …

Not only for you, but for the person with dementia. Shared activities are a great way for the both of you to spend time together and day trips involving an activity offer a great opportunity for you to reminisce of happy memories in the future.

Be patient …

People with dementia can find it difficult to communicate how they feel. It is our responsibility to change how we communicate in order to effectively support the person. We must STOP, LOOK and LISTEN and search for the meaning behind every communication / or behaviour, especially if the person is anxious or distressed.  For more advice on communicating effectively click here

Technology in this day and age …

Technology can be used to help care, both in reminiscence for the person with dementia, for example, YouTube to look up old music, TV shows, hymns, photographs and historical events which you can reminisce over together. Also tele-monitoring can support a person with dementia to live independently for as long as possible with the reassurance of knowing that someone can be contacted in an emergency.

Independence everyday …

Support the person with dementia to do things themselves, talk to them about how you can help so that they don’t feel you are taking their independence away rather than being a support to them.

Plan ahead …

It is important for everyone and not only the person with dementia. Consider financial aspects with Power of Attorney and Wills, change of care arrangements which may be necessary, the needs and wishes to be respected of who you are caring for. You never know when you may need these.