Recently I wrote a blog for Mental Health Conference This Can Happen about being a working carer and how employers can help so I’ve shared it below:
As we all know, having a healthy appetite is one of life’s greatest pleasures – from delicious fruits and vegetables to sugary treats.
We are also aware that good nutrition is vital for our health, independence and wellbeing and this can be even more important in people living with dementia.
What do those inspirational quotes say…if you don’t experience the negative, you can’t truly experience the positive…well something along those lines, and it really is true. We all go through challenges and upsets; life is like one giant maze that we’re constantly trying to navigate through. This means we can get lost along the way, experience the highs when we see the light but also the lows when there’s only darkness to be seen. And I feel that about caring for mum.
If your loved one has recently received a diagnosis of dementia, it can present a whole range of feelings for both them and you. It is completely ok and natural to feel an array of emotions – from anger, tearfulness, frustration, sadness, guilt, loss and fear. These are common reactions and it would be good to try and ensure you give yourself time to manage these feelings.
I was about 20 when I felt the full-force of supporting my mum. It wasn’t unexpected … in my late teens she used to call me a lot … some friends would comment “Is it your mum AGAIN?!” and yes it was.
She needed me. She needed to hear my voice, she needed my reassurance, my support and me to listen to her hourly struggles in order to decipher a world she has never truly felt part of.
It’s a weird sentence saying that really. We generally associate grief with the loss of someone (or something) that is no longer here, so their physical presence being gone from all existence.
We all know that when someone tells us the same story over and over again and asks us the same question about an upcoming event or what day it is, it is natural and likely to lead us to feel frustrated and often exhausted.
It is not uncommon for many of us to worry when we forget where we put our keys, where we misplaced our glasses or where we left one of our shoes, leading to us hopping around for the rest of the day.
For the past year, I have been working on the We Care Campaign, which has been developed in partnership with Samaritans, Govia Thameslink Railway, Metro Bank and Mental Health Advocates Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn.
What comes to mind when I use the word ‘tantrum’? Is it of a child stomping their feet because they want ice cream for breakfast and are being told to eat their porridge instead…or is it of a toddler in a supermarket who really wants that amazing, fun, best-thing-ever toy, which of course their life will not be the same without and is being told they cannot have it…OR is it of an adult who stands in a busy shopping centre desperately screeching and hitting their head because the shop they have visited does not sell the brand of washing powder that they use.