Empowered Conversations has launched a new programme that is set to increase support for people caring for loved ones living with dementia from their peers.   

The Empowered Connectors programme invites carers who have been on the Empowered Conversations journey – whether that’s attending our communications course or receiving one-to-one support – to share their experiences to help others who are facing similar situations.

And we would like to introduce our first five members of the new team who will become ambassadors for the organisation.  Meet Empowered Connector Martin Philips, from Agecroft, who cared for his wife Linda until her death in November 2021.

Here Martin tells us about his experiences:

“Linda had Lewy Body Dementia. We can definitely trace back the symptoms to 2012, and I believe she first showed signs in 2009.  She deteriorated mentally from 2012, was first seen by her GP in late 2013, and referred to Woodlands in March 2014.  Linda was treated for depression for a number of years before a diagnosis was finally made by Salford Royal in November 2017.  Linda attended the Poppy Day Centre from April 2018, her days coinciding with my working days. I cared for her on my non-working days, having to take partial retirement in April 2019 and full retirement in February 2020, to concentrate on caring.

Physically, she did not really deteriorate until 2020 but then rapidly declined in 2021 – lockdown may have hastened this.  Over time, I came to do everything for Linda. I found caring rewarding, humorous, frustrating, sad, tiring, empowering and educational.  Empowered Carers and Empowered Conversations taught me so much about dementia and helped me learn different ways to communicate with Linda.”

Martin’s advice to other carers is:

  • Remember that, even from early onset, it is the illness that is the issue, not your loved one.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Learn different ways to prevent yourself from getting frustrated. You will come to regret all the times you should have acted more kindly.