Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 13th of January 2016.
A new year can be a time for change, reflection, organisation, or for making plans for the future. If you care for someone with dementia, you’ll find opportunities to do all that and more in our list of 5 resolutions for carers.
1. Get organised – If your loved one has only recently been diagnosed with dementia, or they’re still in the early stages, you may not have looked into all of the important legal and financial decisions that will need to be made regarding their care. From wills and power of attorney to advance care plans, make a list of anything that needs to be finalised and sort each one out one at a time.
2. Sign your loved one up to a new group or help them rediscover a hobby – Stimuli, activities, games, and physical exercise are all vital for people with dementia, as each one helps to entertain, encourage socialisation, and give them a sense of fulfillment and purpose. If you ran out of steam when it came to activities in 2015, make this year a new and exciting one by helping your loved one take up or rediscover a favourite hobby. If they used to love painting, buy them art activities designed specially for people with dementia or treat bingo fans to a round of Animal Bingo. You can also get in touch with dementia charities to find out if there are any activity groups in your local area; groups can be formed for anything from gardening to walking so there’s bound to be something for all interests.
3. Make a memory box – Memory boxes can often be on a carer’s to-do list but it’s hard to find the time to sit down and make one. Reminiscence activities are hugely beneficial for people living with dementia however, so make 2016 the year you create one with your loved one.
4. Talk – With so many chores and jobs to be done, it can be easy to forget to communicate with the person you care for, especially if talking has become difficult for them. Make time to sit down and talk for a while, without doing anything else at the same time – this can be vital for preventing someone with dementia from withdrawing from socialisation. If talking is difficult, there are plenty of communication aids available to help you understand each other. It’s also important to talk to other people you are close to. Being a carer can feel lonely and isolating at times and sitting down over a cuppa is a great way to alleviate any stresses and strains you might be feeling.
5. Look after yourself – Most importantly, don’t forget to care for yourself. Caring is a full-time job that often doesn’t stop, especially if you live with the person you care for, so you’ll have to make an effort to dedicate time to yourself. Whether you take up a hobby of your own, meet friends, or just pamper yourself, a little me-time will help you cope better with day-to-day life throughout the new year.