One thing that becomes increasingly important to carers who are looking after a partner or relative with dementia, is to be able to have break from the stress of caring. Often when we think of respite care we think in terms of a week in a care home to allow the carer time to themselves, but this is not the only kind of respite and, indeed, it may not be the best.
Some carers can create their own short breaks. If they are able to leave the person they care for alone for a time they may escape into the garden where pottering around tidying up or tending the plants can be very therapeutic. Other carers find their hobbies a great source of relief. One carer, Brian would retire to his shed to work on his remote controlled, model lifeboats. Another carer, Ted, found that although his wife could not bear for him to be out of her sight, she could leave him undisturbed, working on his model Wurlitzer organs at ‘his’ table, provided they were both in the same room. Then she would sit contentedly while he worked in peace.
In this way carers can free their minds from the pressures of looking after loved ones and, at the same time, gain satisfaction from achieving something worthwhile. Clearly these strategies will not work in all cases. We’ll look at other forms of respite in future articles. Meanwhile, there is the Wednesday Group! For more information about the Wednesday (Memory) Group contact Jan on 01777 709974.