Dementia is the broad term used to describe a number of conditions that affect the brain. Click here to find out more about the different types of dementia
Many people can, and do live well with dementia by recognising the impact that it can have on all areas of their life and taking steps to address this
Understanding what to expect can also help
Getting a diagnosis of dementia may have come as a shock.
Try your best to stay positive and know you are not alone - support is all around you!
No matter how much you may have been expecting a diagnosis of dementia, it may still have come as a shock. It is hard for everyone concerned and reassurance and support are vital. The most important thing is to try and be positive and to know that you are not alone. There are people you can talk to and support and services that can help
Once the necessary tests were completed, or sometimes before the tests, you should have been asked if you wanted to know your diagnosis. You should have been given an explanation about what having dementia might mean for you. It is important that you were given time to talk more about the condition and given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have had
If you decided that you wanted to know your diagnosis
Caring for someone living with dementia isn’t the end of life as you know it but more about finding a different way of living your life together
You may find it difficult to see yourself as a ‘carer’ as to you the person is your partner or spouse, family member or friend. You are not alone as many people feel this way and it is your choice whether you use the term ‘carer’. Even if you may not identify with this term, it can be a good idea to use it when you are talking to a professional as it can help you to access the right support
It is likely that taking on the role of supporting a person living with dementia will have a big impact on your life. Although it can be positive and rewarding, it can also present challenges and is likely to affect how you are feeling. You may find things difficult at times or feel unsure about the future and how you will cope
Everyone needs support from time to time and you should not feel guilty about asking for help. Ask for help so that you can carry out the important role of supporting the person. It is likely that you know the person well, perhaps better than anyone else, and that will help you to look after their individual needs
Undoubtedly caring does have challenges, so it is essential to get support. Support from expert professionals and from understanding friends, relatives and neighbours makes a massive difference. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help and advice whenever you need to. It is a good idea to tell your GP that you are now caring for someone with dementia. This means that you can register as a 'carer', which may be useful for a number of reasons, for example:
Everyone’s experience of caring for someone living with dementia is unique, but there is a great deal of common ground too. There is something invaluable in being in touch with and being able to talk to other people who know what it is like to live with and care for someone living with dementia. Our support community 'Dementia Pals' is a reassuring place where you know you can chat safely to people who are in similar circumstances to you, without being judged
Talking to other people and listening to other people’s views and experiences can help you understand better. You can help others along the way by sharing your experiences – good and bad
If you would like to join and be a part of the Dementia Pals Community or would like more information, please contact us
Living with and caring for someone living with dementia can have a big impact on your mental and physical health and wellbeing. It is important that you look after yourself!