The importance of respite for carers of people with dementia cannot be underestimated. If a carer can leave the person they care for unattended for a short time, they may enjoy a break pottering in the garden or pursuing a hobby which frees their mind from their concerns for a while. If the person with dementia cannot bear to be left alone, this will not work and it will be necessary to find someone who will help. Perhaps a friend or family member can look after the person for a short time, offering them a different activity or just someone else to talk to so the carer is free to shop or do other necessary jobs like cleaning, household maintenance or their own healthcare. Day care can be a lifesaver, giving the carer the assurance that their loved one is safe and happy while they attend to other matters without worrying. But this is increasingly difficult to find.
If you know someone in this situation, do, if you possibly can, offer to help. And can I suggest that you ask what sort of help would be preferred? It’s lovely when someone does your shopping for you but perhaps what the carer really wants is to wander round Morrisons alone for a change. An offer like this makes the carer feel someone understands and cares about them. It can also make the difference between being able to keep the loved one at home by avoiding the crisis that can precipitate a long-term care placement. Carers take their duties seriously and it is unlikely that you will be asked to do more than you feel you can cope with. Just an hour or two a week can make a huge difference.
For more information about the Wednesday (Memory) Group in Retford contact Jan on 01777 709974.