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By Jane Verity ©Dementia Care International
Providing a caring, happy and fulfilling environment for a person with dementia can be both challenging and rewarding. It also requires energy and patience coupled with the forming of a supportive partnership between professional and family carers and the person with dementia.
However it is almost impossible to rekindle the ‘spark of life’ in others if our own fire for our task has gone out. Carers need to care for their own wellbeing to ensure the best quality of life for everyone involved.
Experience has shown that frustration and irritation are the major causes of burnout in carers. Professional carers are often more aware of how to avoid this happening and learn practical ways of maintaining their energy, enthusiasm and creativity.
Tips to Maintain Motivation
Accept the Changes
Often, the difference between a carer who succeeds and is able to find renewed energy and purpose, and one who struggles, becomes frustrated, irritated and angry, is simply the ability to acknowledge and accept changes.
It is better if you can quickly accept the changes that are taking place in the person with dementia. This does not mean accepting that all is hopeless and there is nothing you can do, but it does involve accepting changes. This means letting go of the old relationship and focussing on the new; looking at ways to enhance this new relationship and to providing a fulfilling environment.
Old conflicts and the history of the relationship (good and bad) can sometimes stand in the way of accepting changes. Acknowledging these influences and letting go of them enables you to move on and look for the opportunities that dementia offers so that a rewarding ‘new’ relationship can be created.
Supporting people with dementia is both a challenge and a delight. To ensure real quality of life for everyone involved, it is vitally important that carers maintain their own ‘spark of life’.
For further reading – Click topic
- Caring for Carers – Extended Members article – Jane Verity (Read the full article to learn further tips to maintain motivation; the real secret to quality communication; plus 3 great tips to kick-start a successful time out for you.)