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Coping with change when caring for someone with dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be stressful and upsetting but it can also be rewarding. As a carer, you may find yourself going through a wide range of emotions, including guilt, loss and anger. You may also experience grief for the loss of the person your loved one was. Coming to terms with major life changes can be difficult, especially when it completely changes the way we perceived our life to be with our family.

As a carer, you may find changes in your loved one’s behaviour increasingly hard to cope with. This might include aggression, repetitive behaviour or progressing agitation. Speaking with a professional about the behaviour that is causing you and your family distress or worry can ensure you find ways for coping with life after diagnosis and gain understanding around the condition.

Many carers may find themselves gradually taking on aspects of a caring role without even realising they are doing so. This can increase the impact the dementia diagnosis may have on you. Whether you are the husband, wife, daughter, son, brother, sister or neighbour of the person with dementia, you will find your relationship changing.

A lot of information and advice is available to support you in your caring role. Sources of support for carers can include family and friends, health professionals, carer support groups, Alzheimer’s WACarers WA and the McCusker Nurse Service.

Carers WA counsellors also facilitate workshops supported by Dementia Australia including Coping with Change – Caring for Dementia & other Neurological Conditions. The next workshop will be held on Friday, 13th March at Gary Holland Community Centre, Rockingham.