Dealing with dementia in the family

For family it can be an upsetting experience when someone you love displays possible signs of dementia and personality changes that are out of character.

The kinds of behaviours they may show, include:

  • frustration caused by memory loss

  • heightened aggression that is out of the norm

  • loss of appetite and dramatic weight-loss

  • dangerous accidents that come from disorientation

  • an inability to walk or talk.

All of these are highly distressing and can put an enormous amount of strain on a family. Behaviours can be misinterpreted and lead to breakdowns in relationships; loss of function and higher dependence can also put pressure on family finances and in deciding who is responsible for their care.

This is why getting help early on is crucial to help families make the right decision and ensure their loved ones gets the best level of care.

Finding care

There are lot of care options out there to help families look after a loved one with dementia

Options include:

  • home and community care to help with things like shopping, cleaning and cooking, to high level needs like dressing, eating and taking medications

  • respite care in a facility or home so full-time carers can take a break

  • care accommodation (nursing home and assisted living care) for when a loved one with dementia has become unmanageable and require higher-level or acute care in specialised accommodation.

Contacting Aged Care Assessment Services will also help you determine the types of government-funded options you can access for dementia care.

The important thing to remember is you are not on your own, there is help out there, and the sooner you get help for your loved one the better it will be for everyone.

Caring for your loved ones

If you have decided to become a full-time carer of a loved one with dementia, it’s important you understand the implications of taking on their care.

Caring for someone with dementia can be a physically challenging and emotionally exhausting experience. Caregivers can often become isolated from their usual social networks and lifestyle habits due to the demands of full-time care.

When making this decision you should first determine:

  • are you physically up for the job, can you handle the manual tasks?

  • do you have the time and finances to look properly after your loved one?

  • are you emotionally equipped to deal with the symptoms of dementia?

  • have you prepared your family for this change in routine?

  • can you provide the best and highest level of care that your loved one needs?

If at the end of this the answer is still ‘yes’, make sure you also check out the range of options that can help lighten the load of full-time care, from respite breaks to home and community help.

Simply start a care summary, tell us what you’re looking for so that we can really understand the level of care you need and we’ll match you with a range of care options specific to dementia in a matter of seconds.


Continue reading about Dementia: Dementia Care Checklist