An introduction to Dementia
Dementia is a term used to describe a number of conditions which effect someone’s brain function, memory, language, problem solving skills and behaviour. Conditions that are included within the dementia category include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
People living with dementia may experience memory problems and have difficulties processing information around their daily routines. This can lead to confusion, low mood and anxiety. Dementia symptoms are usually progressive so will become more frequent over time. As the illness progresses, it can become difficult for a person living with dementia to live independently and safely at home. They may become increasingly dependent on loved ones.
Concerned about someone’s memory
Memory loss can be a common symptom of aging and it can be normal to forget things occasionally but becoming increasingly forgetful with everyday tasks can be concerning. If you are concerned that you or the person with care needs is becoming increasingly forgetful, especially around everyday tasks, it is important to seek medical help.
The first point of contact will be the GP. They will complete an initial assessment to rule out any other conditions such as delirium. The GP may refer for a memory assessment service for a more detailed assessment. For information on the memory assessment service please visit their website
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia as early as possible can help medical professionals to start treatments as soon as possible. This will help someone diagnosed with dementia live independently for as long as possible. The diagnosis can also help the patient and family plan for the future and access a network of support services.
Caring for someone with Dementia
Caring for someone living with dementia can be challenging. Carers often report feeling frustrated, scared and worried for the future. If you are caring for a loved one living with dementia there is a network of support available for you in Derbyshire –
Derbyshire Carers Association have a variety of support services that have been designed to assist Carers with the practical, physical and emotional impact of care giving. We can help you create a support plan and prepare for the future by connecting you to relevant services and giving you choice and control over the support you receive.
The Derbyshire Dementia Support Service is delivered by the Alzheimer’s Society. The 1-1 service offers information, practical guidance to help people living with dementia and their carers to understand the effects of dementia, applying practical steps and approaches in caring for people affected by dementia.
Derbyshire County Council Adult Social Care have produced a guide for people living with dementia, their family and Carers. This includes details of their services which you may wish to consider such as assessments, day centres and home care.
Dementia UK’s specialist dementia nurses, known as Admiral Nurses, will give you free, expert advice, support and understanding to help you care for your loved one and cope with the daily challenges of living with dementia. Please call their helpline on 0800 888 6678 which is open Monday to Friday 9am – 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm.
Carers often feedback that they would like to know more about medication, the side effects and how they can help manage treatments. Pharmacists are trained experts in using medicines safely. They can advise carers on the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Pharmacists will help you as much as possible with remembering to take medication or prompt the person you care for to take their medicines. There are different support options that can be provided such as medication reminder charts, large print labels, etc. They will assess and identify what additional support, if any, is needed and work with you to ensure the taking of medication is facilitated appropriately.
Derbyshire Carers Association Legal Clinic
DCA offer a free legal clinic where Carers can receive a free 30 minute appointment with a Solicitor to discuss areas such as Wills, Probate & Trusts
and Powers of Attorney. The Clinics are booked on the first Thursday of the month and appointments are held on over the phone. To make an appointment for our next legal clinic please can 01773 833833
Joined up Care Derbyshire and partners have created an online training course to increase awareness of delirium in dementia, and how to spot it and prevent it.
It is common for people living with dementia to suffer with bowel and bladder problems. The continence advisory service offers a comprehensive assessment and treatment service by a continence specialist nurse for people with a Derbyshire GP.
Call 01332 564900 and request the Dementia Palliative Care Team
This is a support service for people living with advanced dementia and palliative care needs (and their Carers) across Derbyshire. The primary goal of the team is to enable improved palliative care for people living with advanced dementia, with mental and physical health needs in care homes/supported living or their own home.
The Living Well Programme is offered to all people with a recent diagnosis of dementia and who are in the early stages of the condition. Its aim is to help and support you in coming to terms with the diagnosis and to offer some practical advice on living well with dementia. Two groups run in tandem to provide the person living with dementia and their carer the chance to gain any information that may be helpful.