Belfast Telegraph

Case study: I have to remind dad to eat

Lesley Finlay (36) from Waterside in Londonderry has been a carer for her 82-year-old father Ken for the last three-and-a-half years. She says:

He lives independently with support, so my brother and I provide all the care – the only exception is the fantastic help from Alzheimer's Society.

They provide a sitting service which visits three hours, twice a week. They can bring him out for a cup of tea – that social contact is important.

He can still make himself a cup of tea and dress but would need reminding to eat, change clothes, or of what day it is and what is happening.

People want to remain in their own homes as long as that is viable. But the only way that is achieveable is if the support is put in place for families.

I'm at the early stage in caring and not requiring that level of support yet but it is inevitable as it is a degenerative condition and it will only get worse.

As a carer looking towards the future you have very grave concerns, not only for the person but for the family because of the emotional impact on your well-being and relationship with that person. It is stressful.

I'd like reasurrance that there is funding for things like helping with washing, dressing and meals and the other care services in the community like social workers... knowing that if you need help you can access services as soon as possible.

You definitely feel stressed because it is an ongoing thing. I'm young but there are a lot of older carers out there and people with dementia who have no one to help and are on their own.

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