There are 850,000 people living with dementia today in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that's one every three minutes. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia.
Too often, the needs of carers who are caring for those living with dementia can go unrecognised, taken for granted and dare I say it, even unnoticed. Additionally, family relatives who care for those living with Alzheimer’s face a much greater risk of suffering from stress, depression, loneliness, isolation and of course exhaustion. However, this can be made a little easier, by recognising, identifying and creating much needed strategies that can help provide comfort and support.
Here are just a few suggestions:
Always look out for signs of depression. Depression can be very common in carers, and it can lead to various health problems. One of the first things to recognise is that it is a very difficult situation. And so it is important to recognise signs of depression, irritability, anger, frustration and social withdrawal. All of which are things that can interfere with their daily work and routine.
Always seek help and support. Do not isolate yourself or withdraw from your friends and family when things get tough going. A reliable and strong support network can and will help you cope with the difficult situations that arise. And if you feel like you are suffering from depression or other health problems, always seek help from your GP. As ensuring that you are always fit and healthy always help you ensure a positive outcome for your loved one.
Always be aware and alert to any potential falls. Sadly with dementia, falls can become very common, because of problems with brain function. Carers should not only be aware of this for their loved ones, but also for themselves.
Always try and manage your stress levels. Caring for a loved one who has dementia can become extremely stressful. So finding a way to manage or reduce stress levels, such as via meditation, yoga (if able bodied enough), or other methods of relaxation has been shown to help reduce the levels of stress and depression that a carer of an Alzheimer’s patient may suffer.
Always take care of yourself. If you have any worries, concerns, anxieties or questions about your loved one who is living with dementia about their memory for example, then take them to their GP for an evaluation.
Always manage your health. Carers should always try to stay active, get regular exercise, have numerous hobbies and eat a healthy diet. Always ensure you visit your GP on a regular basis. A healthy diet includes Vitamin D.