Why the care has to be constant

Elderly women with the young carer

Carers become friends - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When you caring with somebody with dementia like me, or caring for anybody else who needs it, getting the right type of care is so important, and when it comes to someone with dementia, even more so, in my humble opinion.

People have often asked me if I could go back ten years, is there anything I would change? I always say yes!

I would tell myself not to be so selfish and stubborn and accept the care offered at the time.

Looking back now, I can see how tired my wife was and how stressed she would get without getting any kind of break.

If you work as a paid carer, you can hand over or clock off at the end of the day, but when you’re looking after someone at home like a loved one, you certainly can’t. It’s a 24/7 job and a very hard one at that.

So you have to make sure you get a break yourselves. After all, if we don’t look after the carers, who will look after the cared for?

So often I have been told that when carers get a break for six or seven hours it feels like a weekend away. It means so much.

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The most important thing is to try and 'suit' the carer with the person who needs care and this can be done a few ways.

You are fully within your rights to ask the 'would be' carer to come and have a coffee with you and meet your loved one who needs care.

The care companies all need your hard earned money and no matter how long it takes, it’s so important to get this right.

Also getting someone about the same age is pivotal as usually they will have the same interests. Some men only want male company and the same for ladies.

A shared interest is always a great thing, for me and my carer, it's fishing. But for some it may be football or bowling, bingo or dominoes - it really doesn’t matter but far better to chat away about things you like than things you don’t.

The one thing that anybody being looked after will tell you, which is the most important, is consistency.

Please know you can ask for the same carer every time they visit and, if the care company won’t do that, then look for one that will. They do exist. I have had the same carer for five years now, bless him.

It really is that simple. You are paying them to provide a service. If you paid for a settee and they delivered an oven, you wouldn’t settle for that, would you? A bit extreme I know but you can see what I mean.

The thing is, to see the same friendly face on a regular basis is so important to the person being cared for.

They become friends and a relationship of trust and friendship is built.

As you know, I am no novice to this, and I know some companies change staff like we all change our socks but there are a lot of incredible, wonderful carers out there who have worked for the same company for years.

They will have the knowhow, they will have the experience and they will know what to do in a emergency situation if that ever arises.

So please choose carefully because you yourself also need to know and have the peace of mind that your loved one is being looked after as well.