Create a strong support system to stay in control
Dementia is usually a very long-lasting condition. Emotional and practical support is something you will need over the long term. Think through who you can call on for support and make a list. Different people will be able to offer different types of support. Consider who you can call on regularly and who to call on in an emergency. Here are some suggestions to start you off:
- Your family, your friends and neighbours.
- A dementia or carers’ support group (ask about useful supports others have found).
- Health professionals, including your doctor, the person with dementia’s doctor, the practice nurse, specialists and other dementia support health professionals e.g. dementia advisors or navigators, occupational therapists, social workers and psychologists.
- Community service supports, including aged care services, in- or out-of-home respite services, reablement (rehabilitation) services, local government services e.g. transport, visiting libraries etc.
- The National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 can provide emotional support and guidance.
- Dementia Support Australia for help with symptoms of changed behaviours.
Plan so you don’t become exhausted
Use the support system you have identified to help you. You should not expect to do everything yourself. When you come across a new issue or problem talk to others in your support system. Ask for help before you become exhausted and practice accepting assistance when it is offered. Consider a break away for a few hours, a few days or even a week or two on a regular basis to “recharge your batteries”.
Looking after your health and well-being is a priority. Ensure that you have check-ups with your doctor as required, a healthy diet, adequate exercise and sleep. Try writing down three things that give you pleasure. Pin this list on the fridge as a reminder and make sure you do these on a regular basis. Make sure that you keep up your social contacts. If you can’t do this in person, try calling on the phone or catching up online using Skype or Zoom.
Get help with symptom management
Changes in the person’s function or personality can be physically and emotionally stressful and is a contributor to carer depression. Get help early to understand why symptoms might be occurring and how you can effectively manage symptoms. The next section of this website (Managing changes) provides more information and the following pages list strategies that may be useful: 3.4 Strategies to help with memory and thinking difficulties, 3.6 Managing anxiety about memory and thinking difficulties, and 3.15 Create a dementia-friendly environment.
Get support early
- Think though who you can call on for different types of support and make a list.
- Telephone Dementia Australia 1800 100 500.
The free counsellors at Dementia Australia will listen and help you make sense about your feelings about dementia.
- Telephone Dementia Support Australia 1800 699 799.
This Australian Government funded, free 24/7 telephone service can help you understand and manage personality or behavioural changes.