My name is Ethel Chikwawawa a student social worker in a final placement with Gaddum Adult Carers. I am working with Natalie who is caring for her parents, and I have learnt the importance of dementia awareness.
There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care.
Carers play a critical role in supporting people living with dementia throughout all stages of the illness.
Gaddum offers tailored support for carers and we work with other organisations such as Age UK to provide support.
Natalie is 58 years old and cares for her parents. She dedicated years of her life to her family and always put their needs above her own. When Natalie’s father was diagnosed with Dementia in July 2021, she was referred to Gaddum Adult Carers support in March 2022 for support, and worked very closely with me as her link worker.
The delivery of Natalie’s father diagnosis was a particularly difficult and traumatising experience. The communication was not person centred and there was little explained about dementia. As a result of this, Natalie’s father believed death was imminent. The trauma from her father’s diagnosis was so significant, it took a long period of time before Natalie could come to terms it.
Natalie was finding it difficult to communicate; manage her father’s behavioural changes and felt that she was losing the man she had known all her life. While working with Natalie I signposted her to Age UK Salford. The service offers one to ones, empowered conversation courses and group-based support across Salford.
They also deliver training programmes aimed at supporting carers to develop a better understanding of dementia. Their support groups allow carers to meet other carers, to share advice and experiences and to support each other in their everyday lives.
Natalie is fine example of someone who is learning how to care for parent with dementia. Her confidence has grown exponentially, having gone from not attending groups to now contributing, attending dementia training courses and supporting her peers with Age UK.
Natalie self-manages very well. She knows the strategies she needs to cope, and she knows physical health is good for her mental health.
For more information on carers support in Salford email email@example.com or call 0161 834 6069.