Living with dementia

Diagnosed with dementia what now?

It is important that the person gains access to the support and information they need at this difficult time
Family and friends are the first people to offer support but also there are local support groups as well as health care providers and social services that can help a person manage their condition.

Immediate support

People diagnosed with dementia may have physical and mental health conditions so the GP will recommend any medication and other support such as physical care or mental health support to help the person with their diagnosis.

Care planning

Depending upon the type of dementia and the severity of the symptoms it is important to plan future care. Initially, this might mean family and friends taking on more responsibility, it may be necessary to make physical changes to the person’s home to make their living environment easier for them – e.g. climbing stairs
As a progressive disease, dementia symptoms will become more noticeable to a point where further care will be required. It is important to plan ahead so that the person with dementia can receive the right level of care they need.

Care options

Again depending upon the nature of the person’s health and their dementia, there are various care options available.
Local social services and adult social care services are best placed to offer this advice but care options range from:
Home care – offering support to people in the home with household chores, shopping, making meals as well as companionship.
Live In Care - enabling people to remain in their own homes with a full support service in place.
Residential Care homes – offer greater support to people with dementia who’s quality of life is such that they need more care and may have the need to be better looked after in a safe and structured environment.
Nursing Homes - offer nursing care for people with nursing needs alongside a dementia related condition.
Hospital – patients with dementia may require hospital treatment. Hospitals and hospital staff are trained in looking after people with dementia and have standards and duty of care to look after patients and their carers.

Financial and legal affairs

As dementia affects a persons mental capacity, it is important to put in place – where possible – measures that will safeguard their financial and legal affairs
A Will – if the person has mental capacity then a making a Will to set out what happens to the person’s estate is essential not only for peace of mind but also so the family are aware of the person’s wishes.
Lasting Power of Attorney – this is a legal document which sets out who, legally will be able to decisions of behalf of the person with dementia should their condition mean they are unable to take reasonable decisions themselves. It is important to consider having both Health and Financial Powers of Attorney in place.
A local Solicitor or Will Writer can help you with these vitally important documents - both of which help to plan ahead, make clear the person’s wishes and ensures they receive the care and attention they deserve.

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