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“Dementia can be a very lonely place”- Pat’s Experience

A recent report from Carers UK found a third of carers always or often feel lonely. Half of carers feel being able to take a break from caring wold help them to feel less lonely.

“I felt like I was losing my identity”

At a social group in Gloucestershire, Pat takes a sip from her cup of tea and breathes a sigh of relief. Her husband, Jim, like half of the people at the group, has dementia. Today is the first day either of them have left the house in weeks. 

“Over the last few years, I’ve felt almost as though I was losing my identity as caring took over my life. I haven’t been able to see my friends much and I have felt quite low at times.

A smiling older lady with a cup of tea at a Guideposts Connect group

“We attend one of the Connect groups, which really does us the world of good!

“Dementia can be a very lonely place but this group has already helped us both so much”, says Pat, who has been caring for Jim for seven years.

Before joining the group, Pat struggled with feeling alone and found she had no one to talk to about the strains of caring for someone with dementia.

‘A cup of tea and a chat can make all the difference”

Even with great friends and family around, carers can still find socialising difficult, and many dementia carers find friendships suffer as a result of their responsibilities. As the condition progresses, people with dementia often develop complex difficulties that the vast majority of people can’t understand. Another member of the Guideposts group, Peter, who cares for his wife with dementia, said:

“It is very hard to chat to non-carers. Caring for Sue takes up all my time and I don’t have anything else to talk about. Relating to my friends is impossible and I feel very left out. I don’t go out as often as I used to because of my responsibilities, and feeling alienated makes me wants to go out even less.”

Carers like Pat and Peter work round the clock: both of their partners rely on them for many basic daily tasks, and are often up in the night, leaving little room for other activities. 

Both Pat and Peter attend CONNECT, a social group run by Guideposts for people with dementia and their carers. The group is managed by trained staff and is designed to provide dementia-friendly activities so that carers can have a chance to take a break and talk about other things. For many of the people attending, the group is the only opportunity they get to socialise outside of the home.

“Jim is busy joining in with activities and I can speak to other carers, and to the charity’s team.” Says Pat. “They always understand and offer advice. This group has already helped us both so much” 

A happy older couple enjoy a meal at Guideposts' Connect with other people

Reflecting on Pat’s experience, leader of the Guideposts Connect group, Liz told us “Caring can rob a person of their identity. They do not know which way to turn.  

As Christmas is approaching, many of us will enjoy spending time with loved ones. If you know of carers in your local community like Pat, find out if you can help . Sometimes just a cup of tea and a friendly chat can make all the difference.”  

How Guideposts is helping carers

Gloucestershire is lucky to have many places where carers can get expert advice and support, and the number of services is increasing. Your Circle has a great directory to find services for carers, from practical support to health and care providers.

At Guideposts, we have been increasing our Gloucestershire social groups, and have free ‘Connect’ groups in Stroud, Whitminster, Tewkesbury, Wotton-under-edge and Gloucester for carers and those feeling lonely. We have also started a  ‘Connect at Home’ befriending and support service for carers and those with long-term health issues, bringing the companionship of Connect to an individual’s home. Connect at Home can help you with day-to-day tasks like shopping. Currently, Connect at Home is charged but we hope to offer free sessions in the future for those experiencing financial difficulties.   

Nobody should feel lonely at Christmas, especially carers, who selflessly give so much to those they love. If you would like to support carers this Christmas, please support Guideposts’ work.

To support Guideposts Trust go to www.guideposts.org.uk/caring-at-christmas or call 01993 893560.

Click here to find out more about Guideposts’ services for carers.

One Response to ““Dementia can be a very lonely place”- Pat’s Experience

  • Julian
    2 years ago

    A very nice storys it is a priverlige to be a guide post ambassador