Don’t be too hard on yourself

At times, caring may feel like a thankless task. The person with dementia may not seem to appreciate your efforts and may think they can do everything themselves. Others may be unaware of how much you do. You may feel guilty about your situation and wonder ‘why me?’ You may feel that you are not doing as well as you should be because you get angry and upset and often find yourself struggling with being a ‘caregiver’. It might feel like other caregivers manage better than you do. Try to remember how well you are doing, managing a difficult situation and supporting someone who needs you. Nobody is perfect and there will be a variety of conflicting emotions when you are caring for a person with dementia.

The abilities of the person you care for will change as dementia progresses. It can be very difficult as a caregiver to see the person you care for struggling with things they used to be able to do. It is important to remember that while the person may not be able to do some things, there will be other things they can do. You may find that the person acts in what you consider strange ways, but these actions will mean something for the person with dementia. This can be very difficult to cope with but it can help to remember that the person with dementia is responding to their situation, not trying to be difficult.

Caring can be hard but there can also be positive experiences. Just because a person has dementia, it doesn’t mean there won’t still be good times for you to share. It may be these good times that help you manage the difficult side of caring and give you the strength to carry on. When you are experiencing difficult times, you don’t have to go through them alone – there is help and support available.