One of the most difficult things to overcome when caring for a person with dementia is the range of emotions you experience, such as anger, loneliness and guilt. Caregivers often say that they feel guilty for thinking about themselves when they are caring for a person with dementia. Being able to address these feelings is important, as they can affect your well-being. Many caregivers find that just talking about their situation with other people helps. This can be especially true if the people you talk to have experience of caring for a person with dementia. You can get different types of support from different places:
- Friends and family can provide a variety of support, both emotional and practical. Being able to talk to them about the situation and how you are feeling may help.
- Doctors, counselors and other professionals can offer support.
- Local support groups are available in many areas and are a great source of support and information. You will be able to talk to people experiencing a similar situation and be able to share ideas, tips and strategies about caring.
- Online discussion forums can be a helpful source of support and practical suggestions, or simply a place to let off steam after a difficult day.
Your relationship with the person with dementia may change and this can have an effect on how you feel towards them. It is important to be able to talk about these feelings with someone you trust. You should not be afraid to say how you feel – it is natural to be confused, upset or angry at times. You may find that there are some aspects of caring you can manage easily, and others prove more difficult. Everyone will experience caring in their own way.