Receiving the right care and support can make a huge difference to someone with dementia.
Not only can it provide them with the social interaction and stimulation they need, but it can also help them to look after their physical and mental health so they can continue to live a full life for many years.
If your friend or relative has recently been diagnosed with dementia then you may feel daunted by what lies ahead and not know whether you can provide the right level of support.
It’s important that you share your concerns with your doctor or dementia nurse and talk through the various options available before making any decisions.
Everyone with dementia is different and the level of care and support they need will depend on their individual circumstances.
It will vary according to the type of dementia they have and the stage it is at, as well as their general health and wellbeing.
It will also change over time. For example, some people with mild dementia may cope well in their own home whilst some may live with a family member who does most of the caring. If things become worse, a place in a residential or nursing home may be the best option.
Whatever care arrangement is put in place, it’s a good idea to review it at regular intervals with your doctor or dementia nurse to ensure that appropriate levels of care and support are being provided.
Most people with dementia are cared for in the community and often, the main carer is a family member.
If you become a carer for your friend or relative, you can access a range of support from health and social care services, including home care and day care.
This may include support from a district nurse, occupational therapist, social worker or mental health nurse. Your GP or dementia nurse can advise you on what support is available in your local area.
Caring for someone with dementia can become a stressful experience and so it’s important that you look after your own physical and mental health and seek help if you are struggling in any way.
If you feel that you need a greater level of support then talk to your GP or dementia nurse about getting the patient assessed.
From time to time, you may want to think about taking a break from caring. This may not always be easy to do, however there is support available to help you.
Friends, relatives and neighbours can provide respite care at home or it can be arranged through home care agencies or, in some areas, your local authority.
Care homes provide either residential or nursing care, however not all are suitable for people with dementia.
Your doctor, social worker or voluntary organisation such as your local Alzheimer’s Society or Age UK office, may be able to give advice on the type of home that may be suitable for someone with dementia.
A list of care homes are available at www.cqc.org.uk.