Caring can be an emotionally draining experience. Caregivers have to come to terms with irreversible and upsetting changes in their relationships, like a child now caring for a parent. Caring can also be very lonely. Many caregivers report being cut off from their former social circles which brings feelings of isolation and depression.
When you’re caring for someone with dementia, it can be easy to ignore your own needs and to forget that you matter too.
But it’s much easier to cope if you look after your own health and well-being, and there is lots of support available.
Caring for a person with dementia can be both rewarding and challenging. The needs of the person may often come before your own and this can mean that you struggle to manage everything. However, it can be easier to cope if you look after yourself properly. While you might feel that this is not always possible, it is important for both you and the person with dementia.
There are positive aspects of caring, such as learning new skills, building on existing skills strengthening relationships and supporting someone who is important to you. However, it can also be both physically and mentally exhausting. It affects all aspects of your life and can lead to increased isolation, stress, conflicting emotions and sometimes depression. Caregivers also have their own physical and mental health needs, which can be overlooked when caring for a person with dementia.
It is important to look after yourself so that you do not become unwell and can continue to support the person you care for. Maintaining good health and emotional well-being will also help you in your caring role and in continuing your relationship with the person you care for. The type of support that caregivers need will vary depending on the individual circumstances. Different caregivers will also have different expectations of their role as a caregiver (eg a spouse or a young caregiver).