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Caring for someone with dementia ~
Guided meditation ~ Inspirational quotes
Are You Caring for Someone Who is Living with Dementia?
Most of us know that dementia is a loss of mental ability which interferes with normal activities of daily living. A decline in memory; reasoning, judgement, problem solving may leave people living with dementia feeling vulnerable and in need of constant reassurance. Around twenty-five million people in the UK have a relative or friend living with dementia. Facts and figures show that approximately 800,000 people have dementia and this figure is expected to rise to over one million by 2021. In the UK, there are 670,000 carers of people with dementia of which, two-thirds are women. One third of people with dementia live in a residential care home which means that two-thirds are living at home. [Facts & figures reported courtesy of: www.alzheimers.org.uk]
Caring for someone with dementia is a kind and generous act yet caring for someone else can take up so much of our time that we often forget to look after ourselves. Many carers don’t think once about their own needs, putting their lives on hold whilst they carry on caring. As a carer it’s quite normal to feel deeply responsible, overwhelmed, left out, exhausted or even guilty, and it could become too easy to lose sight of the on-going-ness of life.
Especially when you are a carer it’s important to take care of you too. Choosing a healthy lifestyle can develop strength of body and mind. Taking some time out for you could boost your own sense of well-being. Feeling well may place us in a better position to manage the extra responsibilities when caring.
Take a look at your day to find where you can make some time just for you - even if it’s only ten minutes to begin with. Don’t be afraid to talk to family, friends or support workers about how you’re feeling - or to ask for help. Join a gym, club or team, create a hobby, visit a museum or join a choir. You could take a long leisurely bath, bake a favourite recipe, read a book, go for a walk, a swim, do some gardening, play or watch an outdoor sport, learn a new skill, attend a course. Contact your nearest carers’ centre for help, support and useful contacts. Most of all – do something just for YOU.
Doing things together may help the person you care for. Activities don’t have to be complicated or lengthy and may stave boredom, quieten agitation, calm frustrations and help to maintain skills. Keep the person involved in daily tasks as much as you can. As ninety-three per cent of language is body language, it’s important to bear this in mind when caring for someone with dementia. Watch out for their actions for signs of discomfort. Use plenty of eye contact. Try not to have lots of noise happening simultaneously ie. TV, Washing Machine, Tumble Dryer, Vacuum.
People with dementia have an ability to recall past events in great detail. Reminiscing and sharing memories is one way to develop conversations, appreciate someone’s life and validate their achievements. My Memory Jogger is a colourful interactive booklet for people with dementia, family, friends, carers and support workers. A place for personal recollections, a space to record stories and add photographs, resulting in an exquisite family legacy. Happy Days is also running half-day workshops in the UK for Carers at home or in Residential Care Homes or Domiciliary Care: Social Interaction and Activities for Carers - includes Themed Memory Box
Picture Prompts - Picture Bingo - Dementia Day Planners - Labels for Recognition
Themed Memory Boxes: - World War II, By the Seaside, Make Do and Mend
Upcoming half-day Dementia Social Activity workshop, Lancashire, 30th May 9.30-12.30 Details here: Dementia workshop
Last month we looked at self-guided meditations. If you tried this, have a look back over what you’ve written during the last month and see if there are any additional messages you get by looking at them as a whole.
This month I’d like to share with you one of my guided meditations.
Read it through a few times so you know what to do without having to stop and look:
Sit calmly, upright, without arms or legs crossed.
Take several low, slow breaths, letting yourself relax more with each breath. Ask for protection from your guides/angels/god…
Imagine yourself walking slowly down ten steps and becoming more relaxed with each step you take.
At the bottom of the stairs go through a gate.
Over to the left is a small boat on the edge of a lake.
Get into the boat and go over to a small island.
Get out of the boat and walk along the shore.
There are lots of white doves on the shore, each of which has its own meaning.
Choose one, and ask what its meaning is.
Choose another and ask for this meaning.
Finally choose a third and ask what its meaning is.
A person or being approaches you. They are your guide. You can ask them a question if you would like to.
After you have spoken to them, thank them.
It is now time to return.
You are able to bring the 3 doves back with you.
Get into the boat, return to the other side of the lake. Go through the gate and up the stairs slowly.
Come back into the room, and make a note of any messages you received.
Have a cup of tea to bring you back to the real world!
I love many of Winston Churchill’s quotes; he has some sage advice for life:
Do you need a speaker for your event or conference on inspirational topics? Please contact me for more details.
Until next month