If you’re worried that someone you care for might have dementia, it’s important to get professional help and advice from your doctor.
Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing and being forgetful doesn’t necessarily mean someone has dementia. Dementia-like symptoms can be caused by depression, stress, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems or urinary tract infections.
If memory problems are beginning to have an impact on day-to-day life, visit the GP together and explain your concerns. The thought that someone you care about might have dementia can be scary but facing your fears is usually better than trying to ignore the problem.
If the person you care for is diagnosed with dementia, you don’t have to manage on your own. You may need to be persistent, but make sure you ask for all the support you’re entitled to.
A contact person
The person with dementia should ask to be given someone to act as their contact person throughout the journey with dementia. This person should help you both understand and access the local health and social care system and direct you to other services or local groups.
Family and friends
Try to be honest with friends and family and talk about what you’re going through. Gently explain the ways in which they can best help you and the person you care for.
It may help to tell friends and family about the Government’s Dementia Friends scheme which aims to change how society thinks about dementia.
Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Carer’s Allowance can give you extra money, but be careful as claiming it can mean that the person you care for receives less in income-related benefits, such as Pension Credit. Check whether this is the case before making a claim.
The person with dementia may also be entitled to Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance depending on their age and needs. Neither of these is means-tested so their income and savings won’t be taken into consideration.
If you live with someone with later-stage dementia, you may qualify for a 25% reduction on your Council Tax bill.
You can find out what benefits you may be eligible for by using our online benefits calculator.
Ask your local social services for a free community care assessment if the person with dementia is having difficulty managing daily tasks or aspects of personal care. They will assess what the person’s care needs are and decide which services could help.
If the person you care for has been assessed as needing help from social services, they may be offered a personal budget. This is money from the council they can use to arrange and pay for their care at home.
People with dementia may be charged for financial services after a financial assessment. How much they’ll be charged depends on the services they receive and where they live in the UK.
Contact your local Age UK
Every area of the country does things differently, so services will differ. Some areas run courses on caring for someone with dementia that can give you information about dementia, tell you about your rights, and help you boost your confidence and recognise your limits. Your local Age UK can tell you what services are available in your local area.
Contact Admiral nurses
Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses who work to improve the quality of life of people who are diagnosed with dementia and their carers. Speak to one through Dementia UK’s helpline if you need practical advice and emotional support.