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Your tips: what would you say to someone who's struggling to be the 'perfect carer'?

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
6,926
0
London
Every issue our magazine includes real life experiences, and they'd like to hear from you.

What would you say to someone who’s struggling to be the so-called 'perfect carer'?

How do you deal with your own and others’ expectations about doing everything that needs to be done when supporting a person with dementia?

Do you feel pressure not to show how you really feel about being a carer? If so, is there anything that has helped you cope with this?

Please add your comments below, and they may be featured in the next issue of the magazine.

Thanks everyone :)
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,259
0
N Ireland
There is no such thing as the perfect carer so don't give yourself a guilt driven depression trying to be something that doesn't exist. Unrealistic expectations drive us towards failure.

Always be prepared to say to everyone that you struggle and need help as you will be left to your own devices if everyone thinks that nothing is needed. There is an old saying - 'it's the squeaky gate that gets the oil'.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
2,018
0
High Peak
I'd say 'stop trying to be a perfect carer.'

A perfect carer is one who has no personal involvement with the patient, only has to work a few hours a day, at a time of their choosing, and who gets paid a million pounds a week.

Unless that applies to you, I don't think it is possible.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,410
0
Scotland
Exactly right Pete. Do your best but acknowledge that you too have needs. I have never been athletic or especially fit but I did have a lot of energy which kept me going with John and to a lesser extent with his sister. After a year of COVID and lockdown I don’t even have those levels of energy any more so how others are managing I do not know.

My best wishes to you all and my thoughts are with you.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
848
0
There is no perfect, often with dementia you are looking at the least-worst option, sadly. I would say. Being a carer is something taken on, often without really deciding to do it, and with it is a huge amount of expectation, guilt and life changes. Everyone is different. I never thought of myself as a carer, as I cannot do physical care, because of a lifelong disability. It was only when I had counselling that I challenged my thinking on this and stopped feeling guilty for things I cannot do.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,546
0
Victoria, Australia
The perfect carer is someone who is prepared to surrender to all the demands that the role brings without wanting any thanks, empathy or consideration from the person you care for.

It is also someone who can cheerfully forget that they once had a rewarding life and that they had the freedom to make choices for themselves and about themselves without being dominated by another person's illness.

It is someone who can live their lives in a mind numbing monotony, not because of love because that would be too painful, but through an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for another human being.
 

karty

New member
Jun 10, 2021
6
0
I reckon the perfect carer does not exist but someone could be getting close to it, if they care for themselves as much as they care for the person they are caring for.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,259
0
N Ireland
Another point that I think is worth mentioning is to read.

When my wife was diagnosed I wanted to arm myself with as much information as possible. After all, 'information is power'.

I joined this forum and read page after page of posts from the sub-forums. I found the publications list and read, read read. I bought books and did on-line courses. This has meant that as my wife's dementia has progressed, and new symptoms/behaviours have arisen, I haven't been shocked or distressed about things, but instead recognised things for what they are and dealt with them as calmly as possible.

It's this reading and the power gained from it that has always prompted the posts where I reply to people and provide links to factsheets etc as well as giving the benefit of my knowledge and experience.

Having said all that, I still find caring for my wife to be the biggest challenge of my life to date.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
10,722
0
Yorkshire
'perfect carer' is a dangerous concept

We see too many trying to be perfect
and burning out,
or feeling incredibly guilty when they continually fail, as of course they will,
or unable to ask for or accept help because a perfect carer can do it all alone,
or believing that the person they care for is more important than they are, when we all are equally important, so not looking after themselves,
or thinking everyone else copes so they're a failure because they are not coping
or believing everyone else copes so they must carry on even though they are exhausted
or feeling they must do the caring themselves because they promised or vowed, even though no-one can provide all the care needed alone

so GOOD ENOUGH is what a carer should hope for and accept then if it gets better than that it's BRILLIANT
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
6,226
0
Southampton
i think a perfect carer doesnt exist but if it did then it would be someone who is aware of their own needs and and limitations, to accept help to care for themselves as well as the person they are caring for because unless you care for yourself, you have no hope of caring for another person.
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
2,714
0
North West
I was thinking about this and have come back again -Care is a difficult thing to define and I can write endless rhetoric around what it means to care, in its most basic form to care is to address someones need, and not caring is not to address the needs of someone. Its a conundrum because to care as others have said and articulated takes a whole world of skills, self insight and more, but even then it may not be perfect. I have two visual statements in the form of pictures, for me they are significant pointers to being a good carer, but not a perfect one
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ElQaSYYWMAAuwFP.jpg
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
443
0
Show me a perfect carer, and I’ll show you a liar. For the first couple of years if anyone asked how I was, I would shrug and say oh it’s fine, I manage. Trying to be a cross between a martyr or a saint. The next couple of years broke me, and I’ll tell anyone now how awful it is. People need to know, or else things will never change.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
8,228
0
Bristol
I never felt pressure from anyone to be perfect, or pressure to hide how I really feel. It was more the pressure I put on myself to handle everything thrown at me without any support from family.
Pick your battles, as already suggested, is something I have learned. Learn to say no to other people who ask for help when you are too tired to even do the caring job you are already committed to.
I still feel guilty about making time for myself, so will have to work on finding the balance there.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
671
0
I think what I've seen on this forum is that to care, you need to care for yourself first. This sounds like the opposite of a perfect carer but think about it: If you are falling apart, how can you physically or mentally care for someone else? If you never accept help you will eventually fall apart. The way I look at it is, I help my dad, but he would never have wanted me to do his personal care or give up my career and life to look after him. Neither would my mum. They raised me to go out into the world. So although I know some people see me as unfeeling for 'putting dad in a home', he's in the best place, and is safe and well-cared for. Meanwhile I run his affairs, such as they are.
 

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
6,926
0
London
Thanks so much everyone for sharing your valuable thoughts and insights on this so far. It's really appreciated.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
2,254
0
cornwall
Set yourself some limits and stick to them. Like how long you are going to care for and how you are to manage it. Caring is all about managing . But also remember you have to take care of yourself. Remember, there is only one you. When it gets too bad for you is usually the time to step outside the box and “look” at yourself and the situation. I have done just that after 5 1/2 years of looking after my dad. It is a relief to hand him to a care company 4 times a day. They are struggling so it won’t be just you who has worries about being the “perfect carer”
 

Themash55

New member
Sep 4, 2018
1
0
Blackburn
I can’t see perfect what I do see is love ❤️ and the joy everyday that I spend with My Syl 💕💕 my wife who is around three years into this disease but still at 64 yrs old says it’s a blip we have a fantastic wonderful family unit and for myself I tell myself My Life is all about My Syl 💕💕 one thing that really brings her so much joy is our youngest grandson Henry ❤️❤️❤️
2663CE7F-EEBB-43EB-BCFD-71D0EF03BB66.jpeg
9DD00AF2-5E3D-43D9-9751-7A98539EB607.jpeg