The Impact of Caring
There are approximately 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland and approximately 50,000 family carers. Caring for a loved one with dementia takes time, energy and, above all, love. It can be a long and emotional journey but with the proper support, it can be a rewarding one too.
The Dementia Carers Campaign Network (DCCN) aims to represent, raise awareness and campaign on the distinct needs of people who care for someone with dementia. The group was established in 2013 and is supported and facilitated by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. In this campaign, members of the DCCN share their experience of caring for a loved one with dementia. You can download a copy of the campaign document here.
‘I hope things improve for family carers in the future’- Judy Williams
Pictured above: Judy with her father Norman
"I was caring full-time for my lovely father Norman for four years until he died aged 81. Dad had dementia and Parkinson's Disease. I wanted to care for Dad as I knew how important it was for him to remain in his own environment. He was much happier and less anxious at home and he liked to be surrounded by his own possessions. Being a carer is hard work, and very tiring, especially if you are being woken in the night, as I was. It is very demanding and if the right support is not there for you, it can have a negative effect on your health. I wouldn’t change a day of my time with Dad, but I hope that things improve for family carers in the future and that the Government makes more provision for carers while they are in their caring role and supports them after their caring role comes to an end."
Read Judy's full story here
‘My love and respect for her strength has expanded beyond comprehension'- Katie Moran
Pictured above: Katie with her mother Loretta
"In the summer of 2010, when I was 18-years-old, my mother, Loretta, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Since then we have watched her condition progress steadily and substantially. To this day, I know mom still cares about us so much. She lights up when we walk into the room, and is so full of hugs and kisses. Caring for mom has been a challenge. She he can no longer do anything for herself and her limited words makes it difficult to anticipate her needs. She has occasional moments of realisation too, and nothing makes me sadder than seeing her tears. In these moments, we hug her and return her words 'I love you'."
Read Katie's full story here
‘If only the powers that be could walk in my shoes, just for a day, and witness what is required in the care of a loved one with this disease’- Dorothy Mooney
Pictured above: Dorothy with her husband Eric
"Forty two years ago my husband Eric came into my life. He loved and cared not only for my sons and me, but for my late parents too. Then, nine years ago, the insidious disease that is Alzheimer’s made an appearance in our lives. I am caring for someone who bears no resemblance to the man I married with one exception, I believe he stills feels and understands love. Besides experiencing the emotional, psychological and loneliness of caring I also bear the brunt of it physically, but as a carer your pain and needs go on the back burner. More effort must be put into acquiring additional supports for carers and their loved ones and most crucially more funding must go towards scientific research in support of dementia. We have got to think of future families."
Read Dorothy's full story here
'The role of a carer isn't straightforward or easy. Keeping life normal is the ultimate struggle and fighting for needed resources is often a battle in itself'- Laura Reid
Pictured above: Laura with her mother Nora
"Growing up I was blessed to benefit from Mam's unfaltering care no matter what hardships life brought. Even after my father passed away Mam was always there. She was the ultimate carer. Early Onset Dementia is not an illness that you contemplate in your 50s and the role of a carer isn't straightforward or easy. Keeping life normal is the ultimate struggle. The Government needs to do more to enable people to keep living in their homes and to resource their caregivers to provide much needed care. Caring for Mam has taught me how to find my voice as a carer and to use it to fight for what she needs."
Read Laura's full story here
‘Take control of the things you can control now, it does help. Above all things be open about the condition’- Teresa Dillon
Pictured above: Teresa with her husband Derek
"I can honestly say that my husband’s diagnosis was like a bomb went off in our lives. We had planned a long life and lots of adventures together, but, alas it was not to be. To say it is difficult to watch your husband slowly unravel and forget who you are is an understatement. I washed, dressed and took care of his every need. It was extremely challenging work. Derek eventually moved on to full-time care where he is well looked after, but I miss him every day. Take control of the things you can control now, it does help. Above all things be open about the condition, don’t be afraid to tell people what it is, there is no shame in it."
Read Teresa's full story here
‘It is a relief for us knowing she is being well cared for’- Bernie Donoghue
Pictured above: Bernie with her mother-in-law Frances
"My mother-in-law Frances was diagnosed with dementia nearly five years ago. At the time her GP said she would need help with the day to day running of her life. We contacted ASI and found out what services were available and found places where Frances felt comfortable, but as time went on her dementia worsened. The appointments and notes I wrote in her diary would be forgotten. On a few occasions she went out and couldn’t find her way home. I was concerned for her safety all of the time and the worry took its toll on the whole family. We just couldn’t look after Frances at home anymore, so a decision was made to look for residential care. Frances moved into a lovely nursing home not too far away, so we can all visit regularly."
Read Bernie's full story here
The Dementia Carers Campaign Network is open to anyone in the Republic of Ireland who has experience caring for someone with dementia. It is a national campaigning group, raising awareness of issues facing families affected by dementia and lobbying for policy change. If you would like more information about the Dementia Carers Campaign Network please contact us at email@example.com.
If you have found anything in this campaign distressing and would like information or support please call our free and confidential National Helpline on 1800 341 341.