How to support a loved one with a dementia diagnosis

Has your loved one recently been diagnosed with dementia or early-onset dementia? Getting this diagnosis can be a daunting and scary time, not only for the individual getting the news but also for their loved ones. In this article, we wanted to provide you with some advice on how to cope with the diagnosis, support each other, and what the next steps should be. 

Do your research 

Being well informed about the disease and its symptoms will help you and your loved one(s) adjust to this change, and potentially feel more in control. For example, did you know that there are many different types of dementia, each varying slightly? We have listed these below: 

  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Mixed dementia 
  • Lewy body dementia 

Each of these types will affect the individual in a different way or are more common in different age categories and therefore will need alternative support methods or care in place.

By understanding the disease better, you will be ahead of it and be more expectant of what’s to come. Whilst there is no cure for the disease, finding ways to slow it down is the next best option.

In terms of finding the information, here are a few sources we would recommend: 

  • Speak to a GP 
  • Use the DementiaUK website
  • Visit the official NHS website 
  • Speak to our home care team

Talk to them about it

Keeping someone in the dark about their diagnosis isn’t always the best option. Explaining it to them can help them to deal with it as much as it will help you. Early intervention when a dementia diagnosis is suspected, has been proven to have benefits on the progression of the disease. 

Join a support group  

Support groups aren’t always just useful for the individual living with dementia, they can also be used for loved ones to ask questions and meet other people in a similar situation. You’re not alone!

There are many ‘memory cafes’ dotted around Dorset which aim to provide a safe and comforting environment for individuals and carers. You can find out about the available support groups and dementia cafes in this download from CRISP here

Make subtle changes to make their life easier 

As the disease progresses, it will be vital that certain daily tasks are altered or removed from the individual’s mental to-do list. Dementia may affect the ability for them to complete tasks such as food shopping effectively, so to make their life easier you could arrange a food delivery service to happen each week. 

Here are some other minor changes you can make: 

  • Arrange a consistent schedule of visitors 
  • Organise for a weekly newspaper to be delivered
  • Put labels on kitchen cupboards to help them find what they need easier
  • Stick pictures or signs on doors for key rooms within the house 

Ask friends and family to support them too

Having support from friends and family can lessen the burden off you as the main initial carer. By explaining the disease to them and encouraging others to engage with and communicate with the individual will take the pressure off you and also help them to deal with it better. 

Start looking in dementia home care options

Additional support and care won’t always be required immediately, but understanding your options for the future will prepare you for this when the time comes. 

Some people automatically assume that a care home would be needed to look after their loved one with dementia, however, there are many options that allow the individual to continue to keep their own independence and stay living in their own home. 

With varying levels of dementia home care available, from help at home drop-in services to more regular home care or even live-in care, a bespoke plan can be put into place to ensure they are getting the right care, at the right time. You can find more information about when the right time is to employ home carers in a previous article of ours here. 

Contact Burley’s Home Care for dementia home care 

We’re very compassionate towards all our clients and their families and understand that dealing with a dementia diagnosis can be scary, but with the right support and care, we will always aim to lessen your load. 

If you feel now is the right time to get additional support or you would like to speak to us for your future planning and dementia home care give us a call today on 0345 512 0022

Here are some of our website resources you may find helpful: 

We look forward to talking to you!

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