Following a diagnosis of dementia, you will need help. Make a plan in consultation with family, friends, your GP, and social services. A good place to start is to think about what sort of care you will require and who is going to provide that – it could be a family member, a care agency, sheltered accommodation or full-time residential care, it all depends on your personal situation. Your GP will be able to help you identify who you need to contact at your local authority social services department so that you can ask for a care needs assessment. This assessment will identify what extra support you might require and what can be provided by your local authority – together you will agree a care and support plan.
Am I eligible for social care?
If your assessment identifies that you can’t do some of the tasks listed below without help, then you may be eligible for social care.
• Deal with your personal hygiene
• Manage going to the toilet
• Clean and tidy your home
• Dress yourself properly
• Move around your home safely
• Keep up with work
• Use public transport or other local services
If the assessment determines that you are eligible, and you want your local authority to meet some of the cost of providing this care then you will need to have a financial assessment. This assessment will look at your:
• Capital – for example, any property you own, bonds and shares
• Savings – any savings you have in bank accounts
• Income – including benefits, pension and any income you might get from a job
The majority of people will have to contribute financially towards their care, full details of the facts and figures can be found in our Legal & Money matters section
Care options for people with dementia
Staying in your own home with support
If you are in the early stages of dementia it should be possible for you to stay at home, as long as you have adequate support to enable you to live safely. Maintaining an independent life is really important to many individuals diagnosed with dementia and there is some evidence that continuing to live independently and carrying out the associated tasks may help slow down the progression of the condition. Being in familiar surroundings can help people cope better with their condition.
Moving into a care home
As the symptoms of dementia progress it is likely that the level of support required will mean that you may have to go into a care home. Depending on your needs, this could be a general residential care home for the elderly or a nursing home that offers specialist care and services for people with dementia.
The decision to go into full-time care will be taken by your family members, carers. and family if you’ve been caring for a partner or relative with dementia, this can be a difficult decision to take. Talk through your concerns with friends and family.
Remember that you will still be involved in the care and support of the person with dementia after they move to a care home. You may be able to arrange a trial period in a care home for the person you care for.
Your local council will have to carry out another needs assessment to confirm the need to go into a care home and a financial assessment to decide how much the person will have to pay towards their care home fees.
Admiral nurses are registered nurses who are especially trained to have expertise in dementia care. These nurses provide practical, clinical and emotional support to individuals with dementia and their families to enable them to cope better with the condition. You will find Admiral nurses working in the community, care homes, hospitals, and hospices. The Admiral nurse scheme is run by DementiaUK and there are details of how they can help you available on their website.