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Kelly Inwood is Alzheimer’s Society’s area manager for Wiltshire, Swindon, BaNES and Dorset. She has worked for Alzheimer’s Society for eight years. She has written the below guest blog as information for those caring for someone with dementia.

It won’t come as a surprise that throughout the pandemic at Alzheimer’s Society we have seen carers going above and beyond to care for friends, family and loved ones affected by dementia in such challenging times.

I am sure it is something many of you reading this will have experienced.

When you find yourself taking on caring responsibilities it can feel overwhelming. Many people describe themselves as feeling out of their depth.

In a survey Alzheimer’s Society conducted of unpaid dementia carers [1], we found almost half (48%) reported that they had performed tasks they felt unqualified to carry out because of a lack of support.

Supporting someone with dementia can be a rewarding experience, giving you an opportunity to help someone who is important to you and to learn new skills.

But there can be a huge number of issues to consider, such as day-to-day living, help with care, maintaining independence as well as legal and financial matters.

So who can you turn to?

Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging at times and it’s very important to get support. This includes practical information and advice, and support with how you’re feeling and coping. There are a number of ways to get support from the people around you, including professionals.

Talk to friends or family members you trust. You will know who you feel most comfortable talking to. There are also many professionals who can help. Often the GP is the first person you should see and can refer you to other professionals. These may include, for example, a counsellor or psychotherapist or an occupational therapist.

Alzheimer’s Society also offers a number of services that can help you:

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line is open seven days a week providing information, advice and emotional support to anyone affected by dementia. It is a vital lifeline that provides personalised advice, information and emotional support in times of need.

We can respond to any query and can also provide signposting where appropriate. Calls cover a huge range of topics – both practical and emotional – from first noticing symptoms to end of life.

We talk to people worried about their memory, people with a dementia diagnosis, neighbours, friends, passers-by who have found someone in distress and businesses wanting to support a customer better. Our advisers respond to the needs and abilities of each caller and allow people to talk through their feelings and worries, and support and empower them to find a way forward that works for them.

We offer a confidential service and callers can remain anonymous. People can be open about their feelings or challenging circumstances they might struggle to express, either to family and friends or to face-to-face services (where they may fear judgement or unwanted interventions).

We can speak to people in their language and can support callers with speech or hearing problems via Text Relay. Contact us today on 0333 150 3456.

Talking Point

Talking Point is our online community where you can ask questions, share experiences and get information and practical tips on living with dementia with people who are going through or have had similar experiences.

Users receive valuable support to help ensure no one feels alone when they are affected by dementia. Whether you have dementia or know someone who does, it’s here for you.

It is free to use, open 24 hours a day and people can remain anonymous, to discuss sensitive issues and seek support more privately.

The community is available to anyone with an internet-enabled device, from a smartphone or tablet to a laptop or computer.

You can connect with someone who is going through a similar experience, receive valuable support, and feel less isolated.

Find out more at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk

Alzheimer’s Society Online Directory

Our comprehensive directory allows you to find advice and information support services near you. Simply enter your postcode or location to find support.

It gives details of community support services provided by Alzheimer’s Society as well as those offered by third-party providers. This gives people affected by dementia choice and control over the services they access.

We also list registered care services in England and Northern Ireland that have a specialism of dementia. This includes care homes, nursing homes and home care providers.

Each directory listing includes clear, essential information about the support service on offer.

We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you are going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for support, help and advice.

[1] Survey of unpaid carers of people with dementia, carried out in April 2021 by Alzheimer’s Society, and responded to by 795 unpaid carers from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.