As a part of Dementia Action Week, Independent Lives spoke to Liz about her husband’s dementia diagnosis, and how she found the support she needed with our Carers' Respite service.

When my husband, Peter, was first diagnosed with dementia things were tough. It’s hard to know that you’re going to slowly lose somebody that you care about.

At first, I didn’t have any support, and I honestly didn’t need it. We were coping together just fine, Peter and I, and everything seemed to be manageable. But, as we knew would eventually happen, Peter started to get progressively worse.

There were a few things that tipped the scales. I had an operation, which I needed support for at home, in my recovery. We had nurses coming in and out of the house which Peter found hard to cope with. I couldn’t handle the housework anymore, as Peter was becoming a handful. He required nearly all of my attention. I suddenly found myself with no time to take care of myself anymore.

It’s around this time that I joined the Carers' Respite service. I needed a break, respite from my caring responsibilities, and the time to live my own life again. Peter gets to leave the house a few days a week and take part in lots of different fun activities, and he’s always a completely different person when he gets home – so cheerful and more relaxed.

It might not have worked out so well for us, though. Before we found Independent Lives, things were getting difficult. Every open door seemed to close, people were turning us away, and we couldn’t find the support we needed. There are so many people looking for help and support, but there isn’t enough money to go around. People have to compete with one another to get the help they need because there isn’t enough funding for the system.

Take it from me though – keep searching, and never give up. It will often feel like there's a piece of the puzzle missing, but you can and will find the support you need. You just need to find the right service and right person for you. Someone who listens, and really understands what you need.

To read more about Dementia Action Week, and to sign the petition to Cure the Care System, click here.

If you'd like to know more about our Carers' Respite service, click here.