Dementia working together as a family
- Posted by:
- Dementia and the Family
- Posted date:
Working Together As A Family To Manage Dementia
When someone you love is diagnosed with dementia the devastation can ripple through the whole family. Feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and resentment are common. Some people may deny the diagnosis and avoid getting involved; others may be unable to cope with their feelings of grief and loss. Family conflict is common as everyone struggles to come to terms with the changes in their own ways.
It can be a difficult and demanding time but by working together and staying in touch you can find the best way of caring for your loved one.
Share the strain
The responsibility and physical and mental demands of caring for someone with dementia can be overwhelming. It is very important to involve the whole family in the care plan. Everyone will have different strengths, availability and preferences.
Those who are unable to provide hands-on care may be able to run errands, go shopping or do the household chores. Others might struggle with routine tasks but be able to offer blocks of respite care. Legal or financially savvy family members can help deal with bills, accounts and power of attorney. Assess what each person can offer before structuring a care plan.
Stay in touch
Regular family meetings, e-mail updates or group chats by text or social media can help everyone stay informed and up to date. When you are all together, discuss each individual’s responsibilities and the challenges and difficulties they are facing. Everyone needs to be understanding, willing to compromise and open to new suggestions.
If the meetings regularly become angry and confrontational consider involving a professional like a social worker or counselor to help moderate.
Care and share
Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings and be willing to listen to others. It is normal to feel angry, guilty, sad or unable to cope. By sharing you may be able to work out ways to decrease the strain and often the process of unburdening your feelings can help you feel a little better.
Remember to avoid blaming anyone else, emotions may be running high and others may feel guilty and defensive. Instead choose ‘I’ statements: ‘I am struggling to cope’ ‘I find it difficult to get to the shops’ so that others may offer ways to help.
Don't criticize and control
Everyone will have their own ways of doing things. There is no rulebook for carers, understand that each family member or friend will have their own style, habits and methods. Try not to complain about each other’s ways of helping, instead be appreciative and supportive.
If you're worried that the stress and strain of caring for a family member with dementia is damaging your family unit, seek help. Joining a support group, seeing a counsellor or getting outside care assistance can help you all learn to cope together.
By looking after your well being you can all work together to care for your loved one and cherish the time left together.
References and Further Research
Find out more about the range of dementia care services that we offer throughout London.