Female’s bear the brunt of dementia burden; let’s thank them.

Research from around the world shows that in patients with dementia, women actually outnumber men two to one.

Additionally, we know that 66% of caregivers around the world are women. Yes, professionally and for our families, women shoulder the majority of this burden, and tend to spend as much as 50% more time providing care than their male counterparts. The profile of the average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman, holding down a job outside of the home while also providing 20 hours a week of unpaid care to, typically, her mother.

When viewed through these terms, dementia and dementia care are gendered issues. As caregiver.org says, “Women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbours, and they play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate.”

We can only imagine the further burden that the coronavirus pandemic has put on these carers, as the elderly and those in care homes have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Now more than ever, in the face of uncertainty and fear, self-care for carers is critical.

 

This Women’s Month (August 2020), we at Livewell – a specialist dementia care provider – want to acknowledge the women caregivers and the women living with dementia.

We are running a competition to highlight the role of female caregivers across South Africa. The prize is a We are Food food hamper, worth R1500 that we hope will ease the stress and strain that comes with caring for someone with dementia.

We are Food is a women-strong enterprise, providing home-style frozen meals for your freezer. They have graciously provided a 10% discount code for the duration of the giveaway. Use the following link to order any of their frozen meals https://wearefood.co.za/discount/livewell10 or enter the discount code livewell10 at checkout.

 

How to enter:

▶︎ Follow @livewellestates on Instagram

▶︎ Like Livewell Villages on Facebook

▶︎ Share the competition

▶︎ Tell us about your own caregiving journey or tag a carer that deserves thanks

▶︎ If the caregiver you wish to nominate doesn’t have a social media account, let us know in one sentence who you are nominating and why.

The competition runs from 5th August until 14th August, and the winner will be randomly selected from nominations and announced on 14th August 2020.

 

Recognising symptoms of burnout

Here are some of the more obvious signs of stress in Alzheimer’s carers:

  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Getting ill more than they would usually
  • Not sleeping easily or enough
  • Feeling more irritable or becoming forgetful
  • Not enjoying the things they usually enjoy
  • Withdrawing from others

 

Seeking help

As family or friends of a dementia carer, ask them to draw up a list of tasks they can use some help with and let them know what you’re available to do.

If they aren’t already a part of a support group for Alzheimer’s carers, then help them find one. Livewell has a free dementia Facebook support group where like-minded people can connect with Livewell experts and other families experiencing the same struggles. You can join the Livewell support group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livewellvillages/

Carers can learn a lot from others who are tackling the same challenges. It helps to be able to reduce the feelings of isolation, fear, and hopelessness that come with being an Alzheimer’s carer.

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