Carer tips for National Mental Health Month

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Vern and Noel

October is National Mental Health Month and to mark the month we are sharing the story of two Dementia Australia advocates, Noel and Vern who both live in Adelaide Hills.

Noel Porter is a carer for his wife, Yvonne. Yvonne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014 and later Lewy Body Dementia. Noel cared for her at home until April 2021 when she moved into permanent care in a memory support environment. Noel visits Yvonne daily and advocates strongly for her quality care.

Vern Marshall was a carer to his wife Rosemary for 10 years, until Rosemary had to be admitted to full-time care in May 2019.  Rosemary sadly passed away on 17 May this year.

This World Mental Health Day they shared some helpful advice on how to care for yourself, whilst also caring for a loved one with dementia.

“All my working life I have been involved in training other people for their job roles and suddenly I had to find ways to train myself to separate my caring role from that of my normal life so I could retain some sense of normality and mental health,” Noel said.

“Keep a separate social involvement – even if it’s for a short time it is still a benefit for your own health.”

Vern added: “Seek out for formal or informal gatherings with other carers – in a group or singly.  There are others who are experiencing, or have experienced, what you are going through.  You just have to find them and gain strength and resilience from them. They will be invaluable to your ability to cope”.

“Try to keep some of the interests and hobbies of your life going as best you can.  They are an important reminder that there is a life beyond caring, even though it may often not seem that there is!”

For more information and resources this World mental Health Day, visit our library guide on resilience

Dementia Australia supports all people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. If you need any support or advice at this time, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500, Monday to Friday from 8am-8pm, excluding public holidays.