I've written this article because I have first-hand experience of caring for someone with Dementia. The Dementia in the person that I cared for started around 5 years ago. At first, I assumed it was just that we all get a little forgetful, it seemed to stay like this for many years, then as time went on it become clear it was more than being a little forgetful and that it was Dementia. It is one of the saddest illness I have witnessed.
Care and compassion play a big part in someone that you are caring for. People with Dementia are prone to becoming confused about their whereabouts and even the time period that they are living in.
It was sad to witness the frustration when the individual is told whilst holding a conversation that they have just repeated themselves. I could see the hurt and upset in that person and towards the end they became very disengaged and did not want to participate in anything social. I also found that their behaviour became very difficult and their moods changed quickly.
The GP was extremely helpful and directed me to some groups to share and learn from experiences of other people caring for someone. I was extremely lucky as my employer was extremely supportive and I was given a great work life balance so I could continue working but also caring. I would strongly recommend being open and honest when you are caring for someone with your employer as this helped me so much.
The person that I cared for has sadly passed away and this has left a massive hole in my life. However, looking back, I feel I did everything I could for this person and I hope they knew this as the last few months of their life was extremely uncomfortable.
I ran the London Marathon with my sister this year for the Alzheimer’s society. It was an amazing experience and we saw many other people running for the same charity. We are so lucky that so many people supported us with fundraising donations. If you would like to donate you still can at www.justgiving.com/teams/YouHR
Nichola Kirk, HR Adviser