Coming to terms with a dementia diagnosis is difficult for everyone concerned. There’s a lot of support out there for people receiving the diagnosis, but often their families end up feeling overwhelmed and despairing as the condition progresses. Dementia changes the lives of everyone impacted – and it’s important that those affected, including the carers, feel supported. If you know someone who is struggling to care for a loved one with dementia, here are a few ways you can help:

1. Listen

It sounds so simple, but having a friendly ear to listen can make all the difference. But what does this mean? Be there when they need someone to talk to – and give them your full attention. Try not to offer platitudes, as hard as it may be. A person affected by dementia needs to know it’s okay to feel the way they do. They shouldn’t be expected to look at the positives – they’re losing someone close to them, and that’s not easy to deal with.

2. Respect their wishes

The people caring for someone with dementia will probably have to make decisions on behalf of their loved one, especially as the condition progresses. This is not easy. It can be hard to figure out the best thing to do, especially if it involves taking away the last of their loved one’s independence.

Try not to offer advice, unless it is asked for. Instead, offer your support whatever decisions they make.

3. Offer practical help

Caring for someone with dementia is physically and emotionally demanding. If their loved one is still at home, it’s likely they’re trying to care for them around the clock – on top of everything else they have to do.

Offer to help. If you’re going to the supermarket, ask if they need anything. Cook them a meal, or bring them coffee. These small acts of kindness can go a long way.

4. Provide reassurance

When you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s really hard to ask for help. Getting extra support – either in the home or from a care home – can make people feel like they’re letting their loved one down. Let them know this isn’t the case – and that you know they are acting with their best interests at heart.

Many people with dementia can benefit from care at home, especially during the early stages of the condition. If you’re looking for home care services in Lancashire, Caring Hands can help. Get in touch to find out more.

Photo: Grandparents! by mikegoren licensed under Creative Commons 4.0