Dementia: Discussing and planning support for your loved one

Featured article - 12 February 2019
By Maggie Murdoch, Carers Programme Facilitator, Greater Manchester

Head-shot of the author, Maggie Murdoch, Carers Programme Facilitator, Greater Manchester

I know how important it is to discuss and plan support at an early stage if you are able to as a family: My mum lived with Alzheimer’s for more than seven years and as a family we looked after her at home (with paid carers) until she died in 2017. And I’ve been a dementia support worker for eight years.

In the information and support groups we run - for family carers of people living with dementia in Greater Manchester - discussing and planning support is high on the agenda.

It can be a challenge

Discussing and planning support isn’t always easy, as sometimes the person with the diagnosis won’t be ready to discuss things; and of course that is their right. Our Mum never really spoke about her diagnosis and we did our best to support her in the way she wanted. Whatever your situation, things can be put in place if you know where to find the information to understand what the diagnosis means; and how to plan for the future. This is important because it involves things like Power of Attorney.

Seek out information and support

I was lucky because I received a lot of support and understanding from colleagues at Alzheimers’ Society whilst caring for Mum. As a family we also sought support from Admiral Nurses at Dementia UK. Having experts like these to talk to in confidence is like a lifeline when you are struggling with the stress and distress of caring.

Why not seek out your local support and activity groups, such as walking, befriending and singing. This is where you can make new friends and carry on enjoying life. Find out if there is a carers group or session that you can go to.

So if you are a carer of someone who has recently been diagnosed with dementia, find out as much as you can about their diagnosis, contact your local dementia support team and get support to live well with a diagnosis early on. And one final thing. Remember that you need to look after yourself as a carer too.

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