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Caring For Someone With Early-Stage Dementia

Caring for someone with early-stage dementia

Read our guidance on how to best support the person you care for, as well as advice on how you can look after yourself while caring for someone with dementia

Being a carer can be challenging and sometimes you may need support. This page provides practical information for carers, including guidance on available support services, advice on caring for someone with dementia and tips on how to look after yourself, too.

Download your copy of Caring for Someone With Early-Stage Dementia

Post diagnostic support

People who are diagnosed with dementia in Scotland should receive at least a year of post diagnostic support. This is often provided by an Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Link Worker or Dementia Advisor. They are interested in what matters to the person diagnosed. This may include help to understand dementia and manage the symptoms, assistance with practical things like claiming benefits, sorting out legal matters or discussing different care options for the future. They can also put you in touch with local services, and opportunities to do things you would enjoy.

Care Needs Assessment 

The person you care for, or yourself, can ask your council’s social work department to assess their care and support needs. A social worker, occupational therapist or other health professional will arrange to visit and talk with you both about the help you think you need. The support may include help with tasks like washing and dressing, eating and drinking, taking medication, getting around the home or making sure they are safe. Your council is likely to have a waiting list for an assessment. If the need is urgent because there is a risk of harm, make sure the social work department knows that you need urgent help.

The social worker will consider if the person you care for would benefit from support at home or in a community setting such as a lunch club or day centre. Any care that is classed as Personal Care will be free, but there may be charges for other types of support. You should have some choice about how the care is provided. Under the rules for Self-Directed Support, care may be arranged and provided by the council or health board, or you and the person you care for may be able to arrange some or all of the care yourselves. The care needs assessment will take the care you can provide into consideration, so you must be honest about what you can and cannot do.

More information

For more information on post-diagnostic support, care needs assessment and other services for carers, visit Alzheimer Scotland or the NHS website Social Care and Support Guide.

Adult Carer Support Plan

You have the right to help with your caring role and also support to help you to look after your own health and wellbeing. The council or health board must also make sure there is a local information and advice service for carers and provide information about any short breaks available to local carers.

If the council agrees that you are a carer they should offer you an Adult Carer Support Plan and work with you to try to ensure that this meets your needs. They may already know that you are a carer, or you may need to ask them for an assessment.

For more information on the Adult Carer Support Plan, as well as Emergency Planning, Hospital Discharge, and what to do if the needs of the person you are caring for change, please consult the above guide: 'Caring For Someone with Early-Stage Dementia'. 

Coalition of Carers

For futher advice, you can contact the Coalition of Carers at Their website contains information, advice and latest news relevant to Carers in Scotland. 

Training for Carers

Age Scotland offer free training sessions on many of the issues that affect carers. Visit the training calendar to view the available trainings and register for sessions.

Dementia resources

Find out more about Age Scotland's work and services to support people affected by dementia.

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