Who are you?
Carers are everywhere and don’t look as we might expect. We may well be a 46-year-old woman caring for our mum, but we are also men, parents, grandchildren, and essential workers. Whomever we are, we are feeling the weight of our role to different degrees of intensity.
To simply identify as a carer can be daunting. People often don’t choose the role of carer, and with the role comes a lot of responsibility. In most cases, carers will have no previous experience and consuming all the available information can be overwhelming.
It’s important to recognise that being a carer is part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you.
The results from our recent survey clearly tell us that carers are finding it difficult, and at times impossible, to maintain their sense of identity. Future plans can change dramatically, hobbies can be put to one side, and time spent with friends can become less frequent or even non-existent, all of which have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Our Lunch & Listen Live October schedule has been curated with a view to exploring what identity looks like for carers amidst the dementia.
On 6th October we discussed what it means to “see the person and not the dementia” with actress Rebecca Fuller, and the reasons why her family chose this approach when caring for her grandad. Rebecca’s story offers us a unique insight into a fifteen-year-olds perspective and experience of caring for a family member with dementia.
For the following Lunch & Listen live session, we were joined by Lucy and Felicity, co-founders of The Good Company People – an organisation designed “by carers for carers”. Lucy and Felicity have both juggled their daily caring roles whilst returning to work. The benefits for them are not just economic, as maintaining a sense of identity and purpose are critical to them both having had full-time, ambitious careers in the past. The support networks they have formed in the workplace and community have also been crucial in strengthening their own wellbeing whilst also proving invaluable to those around them.
Thursday 20th October
In our ‘Spirituality and dementia’ live session, Senior Specialist Practitioner, Kate Legg and Associate Practitioner, Jane Stanfield look at the impact of dementia on a person’s spirituality, whether they identify as a person of faith, an atheist, or somewhere in between, and how community, rituals, and music can all contribute to better care and better advocacy for people with dementia?
Thursday 27th October
For our final October instalment ‘Peter is still Peter’, our guests Peter Berry and Deb Bunt discuss what it means to have early onset dementia, living well with dementia and recognising how important identity and friendship are.