Dementia is one of the biggest health challenges of our time. It is increasingly becoming a condition that affects us all and by 2025 and it is estimated that one million people will have dementia in the UK. Last year it surpassed heart disease as the number one cause of death in England and Wales for the first time. This is a staggering amount of people and families coming to terms with this devastating diagnosis.
Watching the recent NHS England video on dementia, you find yourself empathising with the families of people affected as they find themselves becoming more than a wife, husband or relative, but a carer or important source of support. “It is not just the person that is affected by dementia. We will see over one million families also coming to terms with what it means for their relative and their family.” say the Alzheimer’s Society.
Whilst the prospect of becoming a carer for a loved one can be incredibly daunting, many people consider it the obvious course of action for their loved ones. Despite this, the increased responsibility can be physically and mentally exhausting, and it is vital that carers make sure they have their own support.
One of the biggest barriers to carer support is not knowing where to turn. Simplyhealth are hoping to change this with the development of a support community that anyone can access from anywhere, at any time of the day. Called Care for Life, it can be found on the HealthUnlocked network.
“Being a carer is often life changing” says Carolyn Barkin, Director of Delivery for Simplyhealth. “It’s often isolating and stressful as increasingly you need to make decisions for another person. It’s so important for people to know where to turn and have support from people who really understand and relate to what you are going through.”
“Caring for people can be a solitary and stressful experience for so many people” says Dr Matt Jameson Evans, Chief Medical Officer of HealthUnlocked, “Bringing carers together and ensuring they have access to support of their own is vital. We are already seeing the impact this community is having from the stories being shared – it will become a life changing resource.”
The Care for Life online community supports all carers, including those caring for someone with dementia.
HealthUnlocked have developed a new practical guide on dementia incorporating all the information and support people need when dealing with dementia. It includes access to online communities with peers who have gone or are going through a similar experience.