Company director Monica Bradley didn’t hesitate to agree to sponsor the Dementia Help Cycle Challenge. As a former carer, she understands how hard it is to look after a loved one with dementia…
Monica Bradley Associates is an award-winning mortgage brokers based in Cheam, Surrey, who have kindly agreed to sponsor the Dementia Help Cycle Challenge. The company’s founder, Monica Bradley, knows first-hand how difficult it can be to care for a loved one with dementia. Monica cared for her late mum Agnes, who had dementia, for several years, while juggling her business.
The support from Monica Bradley Associates is helping to fund the cost of travel and accommodation as the Dementia Help team – Managing Director Christina Neal, co-director Peter Berry and website editor Dave Collison – cycle across the country from Wales to Suffolk in June. The trio will be cycling 330 miles (averaging 50 miles per day) to raise vital funds for YoungDementia UK. The challenge was the idea of Peter Berry, who was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s three years ago, aged just 50. Peter ran a successful family business which he had to let go of as the challenges of running the company with his condition became too much.
Monica was especially keen to sponsor the Cycle Challenge due to her personal connection to the condition. ‘Carers have a very tough time when caring for a loved one with dementia, especially if they work long hours and have their own family,’ she says. ‘With my mum, it was incredibly hard, as I needed to do everything for her and wanted to make sure she was safe and well, and felt that she had the support she needed. I’m really pleased to have this opportunity to support The Dementia Help Cycle Challenge because I know that it’s for a very good cause and the money raised will make a difference. Carers and those affected by dementia need help and support.’
Monica says she learned a great deal about dementia during her time caring for her mum. Here, she shares some of her learnings and insight which she hopes will help other carers to understand the condition…
Conversations can be a challenge
A person with dementia will struggle to talk about many things, and may be unable to follow stories in book or magazines, or follow a storyline on a television show. Conversations can be short and one-sided and the person may not understand what you are saying. I learned that it’s best to ask open questions that invite an opinion rather than questions based on factual answers that would require the person to remember things.
Visiting the person is still important
Even if a loved one doesn’t remember you visited them, it’s still important to keep doing it.Alzheimer’s Society recently surveyed 300 people affected by dementia and found that 64 per cent of those living with the condition felt isolated from friends and family. The charity claimed that even if the person with dementia doesn’t remember your visit, it would still have stimulated feelings of happiness. A person will be in a better mood even if they don’t know why. Never stop visiting them. They will just become more withdrawn and insecure.
A person with dementia has an ‘emotional memory’
An emotional memory can mean that the person recognises your smell, the tone of your voice, or the touch of your hand. These small things can offer reassurance to the person, because they are familiar.
The person may be fearful
Fear can be a common part of dementia. Imagine how you would feel if you knew that you were forgetting many important things, such as where you live, what you need to do today or how old you are… it’s natural you would be fearful in that situation. When someone is fearful, reassure the person calmly and quietly and if you can, try to avoid the situation that’s causing the fear or cut it short. You may need to keep offering reassurance. Be patient and kind.
To donate to the Dementia Help Cycle Challenge, please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamDementiaHelp
Monica Bradley Associates offers advice on mortgages and also advises clients on making a will and organising Lasting Power of Attorney. For more information, please visit https://www.mbassociates.net or call 020 8652 5240.