Dementia Carers Count, Associate Practitioner and Wellbeing Coach, Andrew Embling, takes us through a guided Ha Breathing Technique.
Ha breathing comes from the Huna tradition in Hawaii. Some people might recognise it as water breath, perhaps. The idea is that it’s a breathing exercise where you breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in. Any extended out breath will automatically slow the heart rate down, helping to relax you; to calm you down.
So if you were getting anxious or your thoughts were running away with themselves, this is an ideal thing to begin with. And it may on its own be enough just to regain your thoughts and just to be present with being here and now. So Ha breathing. The main difference, or the main thing with Ha breathing is you vocalise you literally go ‘Haaaa’.
Try it – and notice the difference that it can make. It’s as simple as that and as powerful as that.
If you do have any questions, get in touch with Dementia Carers Count at firstname.lastname@example.org . We’re here to support you.
Dementia Carers Count
2 September 2022
We know that caring for a family member or friend with dementia can be incredibly hard. The person with dementia is likely someone you’ve known for much of your life and care for deeply.
Watching someone’s personality, mood or behaviour change can be both distressing and challenging. From the dementia diagnosis and beyond there are physical, psychological and financial implications for you as a carer and for your whole family.
Finding the right support can be crucial not only to your wellbeing but to your ability to be an effective carer for your family member or friend. As the cabin crew on a flight say: “Put your own oxygen mask on first”.
No one should face the challenges of caring for someone with dementia alone. Please see a video from Dementia Carers Count below on a top tip on how to look after your wellbeing.
Dementia Carers Count offers support
30 August 2022
At Dementia Carers Count we offer free, ongoing support for anyone who spends time caring for a person with dementia to help you cope with your caring responsibilities and live fulfilling lives.
We know that caring can be challenging. In our recent survey 84% of carers told us they reached crisis point at least once with the majority experiencing crisis a number of times. This National Dementia Carers Day, we want to share some tips from one of DCC’s expert practitioners to help you manage those difficult situations
We hope you find the following useful and please remember we are here to help and support you.
Ways to build resilience
By developing positive and healthy habits, we can build our resilience and approach problems with a sense of strength and stability.
By Andrew Embling, DCC practitioner
Firstly, let us agree what we are seeking to achieve and consider what resilience is.
“Resilience is the way we cope with stress and adversity in life. By learning new ways of thinking, behaving and interacting with others, we develop ways to cope even when life is tough.”
Put another way, resilience is building the ability to make choices when under pressure. Our primitive instincts are designed to protect us and can take over and make decisions for us, but this isn’t always helpful. Resilience gives us the awareness to notice this and the ability to choose how to act rather than a knee jerk reaction.
There are a number of ways we can build resilience and a few of these are discussed here:
At times of stress, the body focuses on increasing the blood supply, and therefore oxygen to our extremities which allow us to react to the situation – perhaps fight it or run away (flight). However, if we can optimise the blood, and therefore oxygen to the brain, this can help re-oxygenate the brain, enabling better decision-making.
Attributes for resilience
There are a number of components to resilience, these include:
Sense of self
Let us explore what these may mean for you:
Self-care (caring for yourself)
Something you do just for you. It can be helpful to think about what recharges you and makes you feel refreshed or rested. One way of thinking about this is using your 5 senses and what brings you a smile and perhaps lifts you:
What do you like to see or remember seeing?
What do you enjoy hearing/listening to?
What do you like to feel or touch or pet?
What tastes do you enjoy?
What smells do you enjoy?
Sense of self
It is important to know and remember who YOU were before you also became a carer. What are your likes and dislikes? What are your joys and passions? And then to find ways to connect with them.
Having an interaction or attachment with a person, place, animal, or item is very important. The immediate things we think of are pets, or a person who may be a big part of your life, but a phone can also be important to some as it is an integral way to interact with others and a source of engagement and entertainment.
Learning and developing skills and knowledge going forward gives a sense of purpose. This may be taking a course, reading about a topic or learning from everyday experiences and talking to others.
Feeling part of something such as a network, club, organisation, like-minded people, group of friends or colleagues can give a sense of wellbeing. These can provide a connection through a mutual interest and/or experience.
Wellbeing for Dementia Carers: a Guest Blog by Age UK
8 September 2017
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and cope better with your caring role. Here are some wellbeing tips destined to dementia carers and brought to you by our wonderful partner Age UK.
Caring for someone with dementia may lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it can be difficult to communicate and share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings, and remember that there’s no right or wrong way to feel.
Carer groups can be a good way to get support from other carers who understand what you’re going through and can share their own experiences. Most groups meet regularly and may offer speakers, leisure activities, trips and simply time to sit and chat. Ask your dementia adviser or social services about local groups or contact the Alzheimer’s Society or Carers UK for details.
Online groups can also be a great source of support, especially if you can’t get out and about or if you need someone to talk to when no-one else is around. Try the Talking Point forums on the Alzheimer’s Society website or the message boards on the Carers UK website.
Memory cafes also offer information and support in an informal setting where people with dementia and their carers can attend together. There are often professional carers available to talk to in confidence. To find out about local memory cafes, ask your dementia adviser, local Age UK or local Alzheimer’s Society group.
Some carers feel mixed emotions about day centres, but a variation in routine can benefit you both and allow you to have some time to yourself. There are some specialist dementia day care centres, while others may cater for people with mild dementia.
Day care can be difficult at first for the person with dementia to get used to. Talk to the staff if they seem upset or unhappy about going. And remember that different day centres offer different activities and environments.
Contact your local Age UK
Every area of the country does things differently, so services will differ. Some areas run courses on caring for someone with dementia that can give you information about dementia, tell you about your rights, and help you boost your confidence and recognise your limits. For more information visit Age UK’s website.