Carers who live with and look after someone with dementia can find a range of support and advice from Age UK Walsall to help them take a break from their demanding role.
A carer can refer into the Dementia Carers’ Support Service as long as the cared for person has had a formal diagnosis. They do not have to be over the age of 55, it’s the diagnosis not the age that meets the criteria.
It is difficult for people to understand the role of a carer unless they have been in that position which is often a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year role.
Carers can become absolutely exhausted and those who care for someone with dementia will tell you that they have a very demanding role and they very often overlook their own well being.”
The diagnosis itself can be devastating as people try to come to terms with the fact that their loved one is not going to get better. And they miss the person that their loved one used to be.
They can also go into denial and this can be difficult for the poeple they are caring for – particularly if their condition means they have some days when they do have clarity.”
Support workers are all trained in this specialist field and work with families to come up with coping mechanisms that best suit the needs of all involved.
Carers often feel terribly guilty about taking a break, no matter how short, but their health and well being should not be overlooked.
It could be that someone just wants the opportunity to go and get their hair done or meet friends for an uninterrupted coffee and we can support them to enjoy this time for themselves.
We also work with the person with dementia and currently support people to go on the golf course, play snooker, or enjoy a pint in their local pub. Their carers may not want to take part in these activities and, the person with dementia may not want them to either.
Advisers who are part of the pathways for life team and are based at Age UK Walsall, 10 The Bridge, this is a drop in or telephone for anyone who needs advice whether it is the carer, cared for or just a family member.
Age UK Walsall is also working in partnership with Walsall Council and Accord Group to offer Pathways 4 Life.
The unique service offers people in Walsall with dementia, their carers and family, specialised support and advice from different bases across the borough.
Six café-style support groups will be held monthly in Aldridge, Pelsall, Brownhills, Willenhall, Pleck and Blakenall, providing people with vital advice about the condition and an opportunity to socialise in an informal setting.
In addition, two dementia support workers will also be based at Manor Hospital, where they will ensure that people diagnosed with dementia get support as early as possible.
Dementia advisers who are part of the Pathways 4 Life team are also based at Age UK Walsall, at 10 The Bridge.
People can drop in or telephone for advice – whether it is the carer, cared for or a family member.
To contact the Dementia Carers’ Support Service call Val on 01922 638825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.