New video gives voice to dementia carers

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21st May 2012

Vitalise marks Dementia Awareness Week with powerful new video

National disability charity Vitalise has marked Dementia Awareness Week by releasing a powerful new video giving a voice to carers coping with a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The video, entitled ‘Alzheimer’s carers – in their own words’, features a number of carers talking candidly about their experiences of living, coping and coming to terms with the devastating effects of dementia. The film was recorded at one of Vitalise’s special respite weeks for couples coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia at the charity’s centre in Southport.

The video particularly highlights the vital role that regular and reliable support plays in coping with a partner with dementia. One of the carers interviewed comments: “I just couldn’t do it on my own any longer, so I asked for some care.” Another says: “I don’t think you could manage without support – in fact I know you couldn’t manage without support.”

The video comes in the wake of a recent review of research issued by Vitalise, which revealed that many carers don’t see themselves as carers and consequently don’t realise they are entitled to statutory support. Moreover, older carers, such as those caring for partners with Alzheimer’s or dementia, are bearing the brunt of the problem. The research found that over half of older carers (54%) had not even received a Carer’s Assessment and as a consequence they were unaware that local authority funding for respite care and short breaks existed.

With the release of the video Vitalise is renewing its call for greater support for people with disabilities and carers to avert a growing crisis in social care. There are an estimated 750,000 people with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the UK and, as the population ages, this figure is expected to rise to over one million within the next 10 years. It has been estimated that one in five of the population is likely to be in a caring role within the next 25 years.

Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds said:

“What shines through from this video is the courage and dignity of people coping day in, day out with the relentless and debilitating advance of Alzheimer’s and dementia in someone they love.

“What this film also reveals is that, contrary to what most of us might think, it is not necessarily time away from their partners that dementia carers want when they think about respite, but quite the opposite. What they really crave is a space where they can reconnect as husband and wife once more, not disabled person and carer – a space where they can re-establish a loving connection, where they can restore hope and regain the will to go on.

“We found out all this just by listening to what the carers who came through our doors had to say. Maybe as a society we should listen more to this army of unsung carers – and try to give them what they need.”

Vitalise provides special weeks for couples affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia to spend quality time together in a supportive environment, in order to restore their strength and ability to cope.

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