Karen Bonser became a caregiver to her husband Mike, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 53 years old. Since then Karen has been navigating what their new normal looks like as she cares for her husband and daughter. Although the journey is not always easy they have been able to raise awareness of the challenges of living with dementia, with their involvement with Our Dementia Choir, with Vicky Mclure which brings Mike a lot of joy!
Karen shares in her videos, how she maintains a routine with Mike and what her tips are for becoming a caregiver.
"We really want to keep him at home for as long as possible. Everyday is different, so his abilities will change from one day to another so we have to adapt to him."
"A mix of activities and medication has really helped with this. Structure is also very important for people living with dementia, it will really help to keep everyone involved calm."
"Dementia will change your relationship, you begin to feel more like the caregiver than the wife. It is hard to understand why they cannot do the things that they used to but it is for us to understand them now."
The choir and music brings him so much joy, I do not know if he would be the same if he did not have his music."
“The journey is not easy but keep your loved one as active as possible. It will help to keep them with you for longer, find activities that you can do together and always ask for help.”
Try to keep them independent at home for as long as possible especially if they are diagnosed with early onset dementia. Keep them active for as long as possible it will keep them with you for longer.
Music, really helps to bring them joy but any hobby that they enjoy will keep their spirits up.
Activities and prescribed medication can really help; the Jigsaws are amazing for this as he can play with those all day.
Everyday is different and you will get frustrated, but it is important to adapt to their needs.