Understanding and supporting a person with dementia

6. Carers: looking after yourself

As well as the impact on the person, dementia also has a considerable effect on those supporting the person. Family members and friends have to come to terms with the effects dementia has on them and their sense of who they are. They may change from being a partner, friend or child to becoming defined as a carer. This is often a role that is taken on without a conscious decision being made and many people may not identify themselves as a carer.

Carers of people with dementia often find themselves adapting to constantly changing situations, and they need to cope with both the practical demands of caring and the emotional impact of the person's dementia. The carer may have to take on more roles and responsibilities. As dementia progresses, there may be fewer opportunities to share meaningful activities with the person with dementia, or a need to do these differently.

Carers often have to balance supporting the person's emotional needs with their own. This can be very difficult as they are likely to see the situation from different perspectives. They may also benefit from support from professionals and other carers. For more information on carers looking after themselves see our page: Carers: looking after yourself.