At Care In Kent, we know just how physically, mentally and emotionally challenging it can be caring for someone who is living with dementia – and, if instead of choosing to pursue a career as a carer, you have found yourself stepping into a caring role for a loved one, the situation could feel even more overwhelming. 

Whatever the circumstances that have led to you being a carer, there will come a time when you’ll need support. Carers who don’t know where to turn can often end up suffering from stress or depression, so it’s vital for the sake of yourself and the person that you are caring for that you know how and where to get that help when it’s needed. 

It could be that you have a huge and varied support network of family members and friends who are all pitching in and sharing the load, but for those who don’t, there are various different types of support out there.

In this article Care In Kent takes a look at some of the different types of support that is available  so that you can find the best option for you.

1. GPs And Other Health Professionals

Your GP is probably going to be your first port of call if you need advice on medical issues for yourself or the person you are caring for. If, for example, you need advice on helping your loved one to move around, it will be your GP who will be able to refer you to the appropriate services and health professionals –  such as physiotherapists, or local organisations that can provide training on safely lifting someone etc.

2. Social Services

Social services can offer a wealth of information on some of the more practical issues involved in caring for someone who is living with dementia, such as registering as a carer and arranging carer’s assessments. They’ll also be able to advise you on any adaptations you might have to make to your home and arrange homecare visits if necessary.

3. Local Support Groups

Organisations such as Alzheimer’s SocietyAge Uk and Carers UK offer local support groups in many areas that can be an excellent source of information on the help that is available in your particular area and how you can access it. Joining these groups gives you the opportunity to talk to other carers who are going through a similar situation, allowing you to share ideas, advice and strategies about caring for someone who is living with dementia. 

To find details of support groups in your area, contact Alzheimer’s Society on: 0333 150 345 

4. Online Forums

These days, you don’t have to physically leave the house or even pick up the phone in order to find support from like-minded individuals who are going through the same things you are. 

Online discussion forums are a great way to get practical suggestions that can help you in your role as a carer, as well as being a place where you can ‘vent’ or let off steam after a difficult day, with people who will understand the whys and wherefores – a place you can share how you feel without fear of judgement. 

Many of these online communities, such as Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Talking Point’, are free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week – so there are people there ready to listen whenever you need it 

5. Talking Therapies

If you feel that you need the sort of support that can only be given by a professional, then talking therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) are a good alternative to talking online or with friends and family, and can be particularly helpful for carers who are feeling anxious or depressed. 

Counselling is no longer a taboo subject, and can be incredibly helpful in giving you a chance to talk about how you feel in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. 

6. Citizens Advice

When you take on the role of a carer for someone who is living with dementia, it won’t be long before the subject of money becomes a pressing one. You may have found yourself in a position where you have to decide whether or not to give up work, or are trying to negotiate flexible working arrangements with an employer. 

Or, perhaps you have given up work to care for your loved one and aren’t sure what benefits or allowances you are entitled to. Does the person you are caring for receive benefits? – what happens when they are no longer able to manage their own income?

Any advice you need about benefits for yourself or your loved one, and any questions you have about your rights as an employee can be answered by Citizens Advice 

If you are caring for someone with dementia and it’s practical support you need, Care In Kent offer a range of at-home services from helping with cleaning and preparing meals to light housework and respite care. Get in touch with a member of our dedicated team to find out more.