It can be difficult to know what to do when someone you love is diagnosed with vascular dementia. So here are some suggestions.
Talk to each other
Coming to terms with dementia is difficult for friends and family members too. But talking about it and planning for the future together can help you both deal with the worry and fear that you’re likely to have.
The more you understand what your friend or family member wants, the more confident you will be when it comes to making decisions for them in the future. So start talking about it now and make as many plans as you can.
Find out as much as possible
Your friend or family member is going to need more care as their condition gets worse, which may fall to you. Becoming a carer is not something most people feel prepared for. So you need to find out as much as you can at the start.
Talk to their doctor and make sure you understand your friend or family member’s condition and how it’s likely to change. Ask your GP and local council about the support you can get. If you work, speak to your employer to see what help they can offer you. Find out about the benefits you may be able to receive if you’re not working or if you have to stop.
Find someone to talk to
Caring for someone else is emotionally as well as physically demanding. Even if you’re not a full-time carer, coping with the fact that someone close to you has dementia is difficult. Talking to other carers or families that are dealing with dementia could be helpful. So find out about carers’ or other support groups that you could go along to.
Don’t forget about your own needs
You can’t care for someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. So don’t ignore your own needs. Look after your health – eat well, stay active and go to the doctor when you need to. Make sure you use all the support that’s available to you. Have a list of jobs that you can give to other people when they offer to help, for example, like going to the supermarket or doing some washing.
If you care for someone, you are entitled to have your own carer’s assessment to make sure that your local council is supporting you, as well as your friend or family member. This could include providing respite care, where someone else comes and looks after your friend or family member to give you a break. Or there may be a day centre they can go to, so that you can have a bit of time to yourself. Ask your GP or contact your local council if you haven’t had a carer’s assessment.