Some people can feel guilty when trying to act as the ‘perfect carer’ for somebody living with dementia. But is perfection even possible? Read advice from members of our online community.
We asked members of Talking Point what they’d say to help someone who’s worried about being the ‘perfect carer’.
Talking Point is a helpful community that’s free and open 24/7, where anyone who’s affected by dementia can get valuable support online.
‘Deal with the here and now because the tomorrows will not be what you expect, so why worry?
‘If you need to do something, do it now. Tomorrow the **** might hit the fan and I mean that quite literally.
‘And the hardest one of all, ditch the guilt. You don’t need it, it does no good and whatever you decide to do it will still be there. So wave it goodbye.’
‘Set yourself some limits and stick to them. Like how long you are going to care for and how you are to manage it. Caring is all about managing.
‘But also remember you have to take care of yourself. Remember, there is only one you.
‘When it gets too bad for you is usually the time to step outside the box and “look” at yourself and the situation.’
‘There is no such thing as the perfect carer so don't give yourself a guilt driven depression trying to be something that doesn't exist. Unrealistic expectations drive us towards failure.
‘Always be prepared to say to everyone that you struggle and need help as you will be left to your own devices if everyone thinks that nothing is needed.’
‘Pick your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff.’
‘Show me a perfect carer, and I’ll show you a liar. For the first couple of years if anyone asked how I was, I would shrug and say, “Oh it’s fine, I manage.” Trying to be a cross between a martyr or a saint.
‘The next couple of years broke me, and I’ll tell anyone now how awful it is. People need to know, or else things will never change.’
‘We each have different pressures and priorities in our lives. What I do and am willing to give up or not, may be different than my siblings choose. That doesn’t make any of us better or worse than the others.’
‘Please don’t struggle, the caring is struggle enough without trying for perfection which looks different to each person who is caring.’
‘Take a few minutes every now and then to look in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back, be proud of how you’re trying to do your best even though times are tough, forgive yourself for any times you’ve been impatient, and remind yourself just how special carers are.’
‘I just aim to be “good enough”!’
‘I reckon the perfect carer does not exist, but someone could be getting close to it if they care for themselves as much as they care for the person they are caring for.’
Do you have tips for supporting a person with dementia who’s struggling to follow different rules and signs while out and about?
Let us know by the end of 5 September 2021 so we can share it in our next magazine.