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.
It can be a difficult decision to move your relative into a care home, however many people find that once their dementia progresses, it may become difficult for them to remain living at home or with a relative. The type of home required will depend on the general health and care needs of the patient, for example the type of dementia they have and whether they have other conditions or disabilities.
If you are a carer of someone with dementia you can find lots of information, advice and support at www.alzheimers.org.uk and www.nhs.uk/conditions/Alzheimers-disease.
You can also call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.