If your loved one has been clinically diagnosed with Dementia, there are lots of available resources to support your relative and your family at this difficult time. We’ll explain what happens after a Dementia diagnosis and how you can access the care that they need, along with some information you’ll need to think about a little further down the line.
What happens after a Dementia diagnosis?
Once your loved one has been diagnosed, their GP will usually have shared lots of medical advice to help them cope with the physical challenges that Dementia presents. They will assess if your loved one will benefit from any medication and the GP will prescribe it to them.
GPs will also provide them with the details of different services to help them. They may:
- Refer your loved one to support services – there are lots of online and in-person communities, as well as access to professional help to deal with living with Dementia.
- Give reminders for appointments –ask if they can offer longer appointment times too.
- Provide a Dementia-friendly practice – some GP surgeries are designed to help make a visit to the doctor as comfortable as possible for your relative. They may work with staff who specialise in Dementia care too.
- Recommend Dementia memory clinics – these can be a beneficial way of establishing any memory struggles your relative might be experiencing.
If your loved one lives with you…
Making some adjustments over time, depending on whether they’re living with you or independently, can really help. Read on to find out how to adapt to living with Dementia at home, in the garden and at work to make things more manageable for your loved one.
There are lots of simple ways you can make practical adjustments around your home and in the garden to make sure your loved one feels as comfortable as possible. If your loved one is living independently, you might be able to encourage them to try some of these too.
For example, you can try making your home more accessible for your loved one by:
- Using labels and signs around the house – having signs or pictures can be a helpful visual, for example on the bathroom door, or images of kitchenware on cupboards.
- Putting up a clock with large LCD displays of the time and day – these are specifically designed to help people living with Dementia, especially if they’re struggling with vision.
- Choosing a telephone with big clear buttons – you could even print clear images of close relatives or friends to stick onto the numbers and set up a speed dial, to encourage a visual trigger. This may help your loved one to feel more in control and reduce any potential feelings of isolation.
In the garden
Studies have shown that access to the natural environment can improve verbal expression and memory in those suffering with Dementia (Read more in The Greening Dementia Report). We wholeheartedly support getting lots of fresh air, particularly for those who have had a Dementia diagnosis. If your loved one has a garden or outside space, it is, however, sensible to make sure that the area is secure and safe for them to enjoy. Check for any potential trip hazards like misplaced slabs or plant pots, and ensure there is a comfortable seating area should they want to sit outside.
Use assistive technology for Dementia
Assistive technology is effective for helping individuals living with Dementia to maintain their independence as much as possible. Your loved one might find some of the following devices beneficial to use in their daily life:
- ‘Smart home’ systems – they’ll remind your loved one to adjust the heating or turn the lights off
- Electronic medication boxes – they’ll remind them to take any tablets if they need them
- Electronic key finder – they won’t have to worry if they lose their keys
If your loved one lives independently…
Try making some of the above changes to support your loved one in their home. Still concerned? We understand it can be a worrying time. Finding the right level of support for a loved one with Dementia can be difficult. So it might be that you decide your loved one would benefit from some specialist help too. A visiting or live-in carer is a trained professional, who can provide 24/7 support on a 1-2-1 basis for individuals living with Dementia. Not only will they be matched to your loved one’s personality and interests where possible, our carers can also help with:
- Personal care
- Cooking and cleaning
- Physical assistance around your home
- Health and safety
You can find out more about how live-in care with us can help.
If your loved one is still at work…
It might be that your relative is still working. It’s their choice if they would still like to continue working or not, and many people find it comforting to keep things ‘normal’ for as long as possible. There are things you can suggest to your loved one after receiving a diagnosis that can help them adapt to working with the condition.
For example, if they want to continue working, it’s a good idea for them to have a private conversation with their employer to notify them of the diagnosis. Their workplace, according to the Equality Act of 2010, is legally required to make reasonable adjustments that concerns their employment, such as reducing their working hours.
Can you drive if you have Dementia?
It depends on the stage that your loved one is at. People often find that the change in judgement and concentration skills can become more difficult. Alternatively, it might be that some medication for the condition could affect your driving skills as well. This is why your loved one or a family member should contact the DVLA to notify them that the individual has received a Dementia diagnosis.
If you’re not sure if your loved one should drive, you can ask your GP for advice on this. Alternatively, if they wish to give up driving altogether, you can start this process by contacting the DVLA or filling out a declaration form to give up their licence.
How to get financial support for Dementia
At some stage, you’ll need to start thinking about funding care. Having a financial plan in place can make things a lot easier for your loved one, and your family.
Your loved one might be eligible for financial support for Dementia from the government. You can find out if they are eligible, what your options are and more advice around funding care.
Consider the long term implications of a Dementia diagnosis
There are things you and your loved one will need to think about further down the line, when it comes to planning for the longer term, if you haven’t already.
You might want to discuss making a will with your loved one and you can always offer your help to do this. Find out more about the legalities of making a will for someone with Dementia and how to go about it.
You’ll also need to make sure that all of your loved one’s important papers are safe, and in one place. This includes information about mortgages, bank statements and pension details. Learn more about dealing with someone’s paperwork and finances after they’ve been diagnosed with Dementia.
Get help today
Hopefully, you feel more confident in dealing with the next steps and understanding what happens after a Dementia diagnosis.
For more information and advice or to learn how our specialist care services can help your loved one and your family: