Planning for the future and staying in control
Just because you have dementia, it does not mean that you cannot have a say in how you are cared for. The law is now very clear that people have rights to make choices as much as their condition allows, and that every attempt should be made to respect their wishes. It is also possible to plan ahead, and make sure that people will know about your preferences when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
The following pages will tell you more:
Everyone who receives health and social care services should be treated with dignity and respect. This should help prevent incidents from ever becoming abusive. So if you want to understand a bit more about what dignity and respect should look like and what to do if it's sadly missing, click through to our page Dignity in Care.
Arranging support at home for people with dementia
Developing memory problems, or finding that you are developing dementia, can be a frightening thing. However, it does not mean that your life is at an end, and that you will have to give up all of your independence.
Increasingly the view is that people with dementia can live well. So the aim is to provide support and equipment which will allow people to remain living at home, and to stay independent with a good quality of life for as long as possible.
If you are developing dementia, or want to plan support for someone with dementia, then the following pages may be of particular interest to you:
There is technology available for the home which is specifically developed for people suffering with dementia. Movement sensors, alarms, and memory aids can be especially useful. For more information, see the Technology for independent living page.
Looking after someone with dementia
If you look after someone with dementia, then you might like to read our section about Looking After Someone for more information on the help available to you.
Also remember that you can request a Carer's Assessment from your local council.
Essex Police in partnership with other agencies have recently adopted a national scheme aimed to help reduce the time taken to gather vital information when a person with dementia goes missing.
The Herbert Protocol, named after war veteran George Herbert who lived with dementia, encourages carers, friends and relatives of people with dementia to compile information about their loved ones which could help authorities find them quicker in the event of them going missing. Essex County Council is a partner in the scheme, along with Thurrock and Southend unitary authorities and the Alzheimer's Society.
Support from your local council
If you are having difficulty in managing day to day tasks because you have dementia, then your local council may be able to provide support. You can contact social services and ask for an assessment of your needs. They will then look at what sort of help you need, and whether you qualify for support services provided through the council.
Whether or not you want to approach your council, you may need to pay towards the cost of your support. Visit the Paying for Support page for more information on the options available.
Other information and advice
Healthwatch Essex has published a Dementia Handbook for Carers, designed to be a reference resource for health and care providers. This handbook brings together information about dementia and sources of care and support both nationally and locally. (A useful list of local organisations that can be found starting on page 6 of the Support section).
Alzheimers Society provide a range of information to support those diagnosed with dementia and their carers to live well for as long as possible. Services include information provision, signposting, peer support and activity groups. There are many services throughout Essex.
Essex Libraries have books you might find helpful if you have dementia, or are caring for someone with dementia. Ask at your local library, or take a look at the booklist. The books include information and advice on living with dementia, personal stories, and Pictures to Share reminiscence books which families and carers can look at together.
Dementia UK is a national charity committed to improving the life of all people affected by dementia. Telephone 0845 257 9406 (calls to 0845 numbers are chargeable; rates vary) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dementia Friends aims to help you understand a bit more about dementia, and the little ways you can help. They will give you helpful tips and small ideas, so that you can support the people you know with dementia and also their carers.
Age UK has useful information and ideas about dementia. They also run some local services, and arrange activities during the day to help people stay active and part of the community.
The Independent Age website provides leaflets on Memory Loss, Depression, 'Confusion' and Dementia (guide 9) and Living with Dementia (guide 9a).
The NHS Choices website provides information on dementia, and on how it can be treated.
The BBC have published an article which looks at the growing problem of dementia for an aging population across the globe, and at how technology might support people with dementia to live independently and safely within their own homes: Can Technology Help Diffuse the Dementia Time Bomb
Active Minds sell a wide range of products for people with memory problems, which are designed to help stimulate people's minds, and keep them occupied.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has produced a film which reminds us that although dementia causes the loss of some abilities, people's feelings remain intact. The people in this film talk about their emotions, and give a deeply moving and personal insight into an often overlooked aspect of the condition.
The My Ageing Parent website has put together ten top tips for looking after a relative with dementia.
The Memory Café on Audley Way in Basildon is a free service for anyone living with memory loss - their carers included, who can come and get a break from their caring roles. Run by trained volunteers and supported by health professionals, the café offers support, information and a full programme of events and activities. Call 01268 465854 for more information, or you can search on their website.
Saffron Hall and Anglia Ruskin University are working in partnership to deliver a 10 week music therapy group in Saffron Walden for people living with dementia and their carers. The first session will begin in Sept 2017, followed by other sessions later on. For more information, you can view the Together in Sound Information leaflet.
The Easy Health website has gathered together various easy-read leaflets which will help people with learning disabilities to understand more about dementia.