Accepting help from others
Taking care of yourself
"If my wife’s there it’s OK. In a way, she is my memory now." (Steve)
"My next-door neighbour is a real help. He drops off my newspaper every day and sometimes even picks up one or two things from the shops. It’s great to have someone close by that you can rely on." (Marie)
Apart from providing moral support, friends, acquaintances and relatives can also help in practical ways. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, help from others can give carers the time they need to relax and/or to enjoy leisure activities, which as already mentioned will help them to cope better with caring. People with dementia can also benefit from help from friends and relatives in that they can give them support and enable them to carry on doing things for longer. So try to accept offers of help. If you say that you can manage, people might not think to ask again.
For the person with dementia
- Try to remain as active, both physically and mentally, as you can.
- Open up to others.
- Accept help from others (even if you think you may be troubling them).
- Let people know how they could help you.
- Ask whenever something is unclear to you.
- Let people know if you are finding it difficult to understand or follow what they are saying.
- Remember that letting people help you can give them the chance to show you that they care.
- Avoid letting people completely take over a task if it is not necessary. Apart from being demoralising for you, this can lead to a more rapid deterioration of an existing skill or ability.
For the carer
- Remind yourself, "It’s OK to ask for help"
- Tell yourself, “Others may need my help in the future”
- Think of as many people who could help you as possible.
- Tactfully suggest to helpers how they could help you better.
- Remind someone to do something they said they would do.
- Find ways to return favours and let people know that you appreciate their help or moral support, e.g. give small gifts and cards especially at Christmas or other religious or festive events.
- Divide your requests among friends and family.
- Avoid thinking that no one can look after the person with dementia as well as you. Adapted from: Rapp et al. 1998
Last Updated: Friday 11 September 2009