This Dementia Action Week – from 20-26 September – Dementia Australia is encouraging people to show their support and celebrate a carer by sending a personalised, digital card to let them know they are appreciated. Send your digital card here…
The Dementia Action Week Report Discrimination and dementia – enough is enough, released this week, shows that people living with dementia and carers experience discrimination that can lead to social isolation, loneliness and poor mental health. And COVID-19 has intensified these experiences.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said carers often report feeling they no longer have the support of family or friends when people close to them withdraw perhaps not knowing how to help or not wanting to intrude.
“We need to change this experience for carers and Dementia Action Week is one way to start inspiring the community to act and learn more and to understand how our words, behaviour and responses can make a difference,” Ms McCabe said.
“A little support and a simple action, such as sending a digital card, is an easy way to let carers know you appreciate all that they do.”
Rob Jack cares for his wife Marg who lives with younger onset dementia and has shared his story as part of this year’s Dementia Action Week Campaign.
“It’s rewarding emotionally to be able to help someone,” Mr Jack said.
“My advice on how the community can better support carers would be to have an understanding of the commitment that they make and offer to help with looking after the person living with dementia.
“Burnout or exhaustion is probably the biggest problem that carers live with. So anything that helps to nurture them can help them to be a better carer.”
During Dementia Action Week, Dementia Australia is sharing seven tips to support carers:
- Keep in touch
- Encourage them to take a break
- Help to share some of the responsibilities
- Invite them out to an outing or event together (in line with government restrictions)
- Encourage them to seek support if they need it
- Help them to look after their physical health
- Support them to maintain good mental health
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) also released a Dementia in Australia report this week. The report highlights the need for appropriate support so that carers can provide care as well as look after their own health and wellbeing.
The report states that half of the unpaid carers provide on average more than 60 hours of care every week. One in three informal/unpaid carers who also had jobs, reduced their working hours to provide greater care.
“The good news is a little support can make a big difference to someone’s life and experience of dementia,” Ms McCabe said.
“This week is a great opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the extraordinary contribution made by carers of people living with dementia do, especially through the challenge of the pandemic.
“For the almost 1.6 million people involved in the care of people living with dementia, we honour you and we thank you.”