Recognise your limits
Carers can be grouped into two coping types:
- ‘Care providers’ give more and more support as the needs of the person with dementia increase. They pile one responsibility on top of another which eventually becomes unbearable.
- ‘Care managers’ notice new symptoms that need support, but rather than providing the support themselves, they consider; “Who is the best person or service to help with this?”. They utilise external support provided by other family, friends and services.
While these coping types are generalisations, it is important to recognise that you cannot, and should not, try to manage everything yourself. You need to care for yourself and this will ultimately be in the best interest of the person with dementia.
Ask for help
Being a ‘care manager’ means asking for help from others. Asking can be hard but it is essential for your own wellbeing. Many family and friends are very willing to help, but don’t know how to offer or what sort of support they could offer.
- Ask for help before you think you really need it. It is not admitting defeat; it’s an important process of managing support to ensure you can continue to care.
Plan now, don’t wait.
Plan and start early in seeking assistance from community services as there are often long delays. See 5.5 Types of Services for more information. Your first step is either registering with My Aged Care (when the person is 65 years or over) or the NDIS (under 65 years).
- Explore services that are on offer. It can take time to find the right provider and sort through services that work for you both.
Planning to get support
Have some ideas ready and practice saying ‘yes’ if people ask how they can help.
Start early in seeking assistance from community services. Get to know what is available in your area.