Caring for someone living with dementia can be very rewarding, but it can also be extremely demanding – both physically and emotionally. The needs of the person you care for may increasingly have to come before your own. It can be hard to find time to take a break or even to arrange for someone to help you.
However, looking after yourself is important – not only for your own health and wellbeing, but also for your relationship with person you care for. There are lots of services out there to support you in different ways. This page looks at the main types of support available if you’re a carer.
Help at home
Sometimes also referred to as home care, this type of service is where arrangements are put in place for home visits from a support worker. The following everyday routines are the kinds of help that are normally provided:
- Getting in or out of bed
- Going to the toilet
- Washing and dressing
- Preparing something to eat and drink
This kind of support may be suitable if you’re finding it hard to balance providing personal care with other commitments in your life, or if you’re not confident in your physical ability to support someone in these tasks.
Replacement care, also commonly known as respite care, aims to give you a rest from your caring responsibilities. Types of replacement care include:
- Providing care at home (see above)
- A day centre for the person you care for to attend
- Short breaks or holidays (possibly with specialist support on hand)
- The person living with dementia spending short periods of time in a care home (e.g. as a planned break or if emergency cover for care is needed).
Having a regular break from time to time can make a huge difference. Having emergency arrangements in place can also be vital. If you suddenly need to travel to see another relative, or something happens to you, it’s good to have the peace of mind that emergency cover can be automatically arranged.
Peer support involves sharing experiences and advice with other people in a similar situation to you.
Sharing experiences with others who are facing similar circumstances to your own can be hugely supportive. Peer support groups provide a safe environment where you can be honest about your experiences and know that the advice you’re getting is from people who have really been through what you’re going through.
Financial and legal help
If caring for someone means you are unable to work, you are eligible for financial support. You may also be eligible for free support with your caring responsibilities depending on your financial situation.
To check if you are eligible for support, visit the Oxfordshire County Council website to arrange a carer’s assessment.
Getting support in Oxfordshire
Dementia Oxfordshire exists to help people living in Oxfordshire find out what types of specialist advice and support are available to suit their needs. To contact us click here.
Carers UK: a national charity supporting carers – https://www.carersuk.org/
Alzheimer’s Society: information for carers and the help you can get – https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/help-dementia-care
NHS: guide to looking after someone with dementia – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/carers/
Money Advice Service: advice on financial support you can claim as a carer – https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/benefits-and-tax-credits-you-can-claim-as-a-carer
Young Dementia UK: https://www.youngdementiauk.org/