When a person gets a diagnosis of dementia it will have a big emotional impact on the person and the carer and their family.
Having a care plan is important.
Step 1 The most important step is to get a diagnosis. The GP may order an assessment of the patient to establish the needs of the person and their family. Depending on the area a community care assessment may be carried out.
Contact your local council, or health service if you live in England. Ask to be put through to social services. If you live in Scotland, call your local council and ask to speak to the duty social worker. If you live in Northern Ireland contact your local health and social services trust.
A package of care can be put in to place, every persons needs are different.
In some areas you can get the support of the Admiral Nurses these are specialist trained nurses who can support the person and the family from diagnosis until the end of life.
If a person has dementia they may be able to attend a local support group. There are also day centres which the person can attend some of these offer activities designed to help the person with their memory. Also they get the individual to interact with other people.
In some cases a person may have psychological intervention this maybe cognitive stimulation to help the person with their memory and problem solving skills.
Many people with dementia will require home care which may involve personal care such as bathing the person or helping them with shopping etc. This can be arranged directly with a private agency or direct with a homecare agency.
It is important that the patient or their carer receives regular respite or breaks social services may carry out a carer’s assessment.
Having dementia has a huge impact on the person and the family or partner. Some people describe it as series of losses. The relationships a person has and their environment and the support they receive is very important. Their social environment, is central to their life regardless of their mental ability, support should be sensitive to the person as an individual, and focus on promoting their wellbeing and meeting their needs. People who have lost relatives to dementia often say they experience grief twice when the person first becomes ill they lose that person as the disease progresses, and then again when they pass away.
It is important to remember that each individual is unique and one should focus on what they have and not what they have lost.
A person with dementia, will lose their self-esteem, social roles and relationships will be affected. Also their ability to carry out everyday skills and favourite activities.
If a person is caring for someone with dementia they should bear in mind that the way they communicate is very important
Speak slightly more slowly, and use simple words and sentences and adapt your tone.
Try to maintain eye contact try not to get to close as the person may feel intimidated.
Do things together and include the person in the activity.
Try to focus on what the person can do.
Allow plenty of time for a task.
Take into account the difficulties the person is experiencing and just do them differently. Focus on the process, rather than completion of the task.
Allow the patient the chance to make decisions, unless mental capacity shows otherwise.
As the condition progresses a person may need to take some practical steps such as arrange a power of attorney to take care of their financial affairs.
Whatever the case it is important to remember that there is plenty of help available.
Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies. Her interests include beauty, makeup, animals politics, current affairs and social networking.