Small things can make a big difference to those living with dementia
The lives of approximately 500.00 people in Ireland have been affected by dementia, and though we have a better understanding of what dementia is and how it can affect the person, many people with dementia still are stigmatized, isolated and lonely.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We can all make a difference in supporting people with dementia and their family to stay socially connected and engaged within their community.
Kevin Quaid lives with Lewy Body Dementia in County Cork. ‘I have chosen to be open about my diagnosis, I tell everyone and the support from my community has been amazing. If we as people who have dementia know that our town or village is able to support us, then we will feel safe and not afraid to ask for help. For me one of my biggest fears is fear itself, but when I am in a place or with people who know me and know about me, then I don’t feel fearful, I feel safe.
Éamon Ó Fearghail cares for his mother Cathleen who was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. As her only child, he became her full time carer six years ago. Éamon says: ‘The initial diagnosis was life changing. Friends and neighbours have been great. They look out for her. She was out walking the main road at 6 am one morning and a neighbour picked her up and brought her home. They all know she has dementia and are happy to give up their time to speak with her.’
Caring for yourself
If you are caring for a person with dementia, you might find it hard to look after your own health and wellbeing. People with dementia can sometimes require round-the-clock care or you could be balancing caring with work and/or family, and may find your own health is affected.
Taking care of yourself is not impossible though and this web based resource, where family carers of people with dementia share their personal stories on how they cope with the challenges of caring for someone with dementia might be helpful for you https://www.takecareofyourself.ie/carer-stories/
The Dementia: Understand Together campaign is highlighting the role everyone in a community plays in the lives of people with dementia and their families, and these are some of the actions you can take to be supportive and inclusive.
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If you would like to know more about the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, how you can get involved or services in your area go to http://www.understandtogether.ie