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How to live well with a health condition or disability

Dementia

If you are worried you may becoming increasingly forgetful, you should visit your GP to talk about your symptoms. Your forgetfulness could be caused by a number of factors, not necessarily dementia. If you are concerned someone you know may have dementia and are unsure how to help them, you can find useful information about this by visiting the NHS website. The Alzheimer's Society's top tips can also provide help with starting the conversation about your concerns with the person.

Dementia affects everyday life of the person who has it, as well as their family.

Stay connected

Research shows that social interaction with others is very important for our wellbeing. It can help to boost mood, ease stress and stimulate our brains, which may help to slow the progression of dementia.

Think about new ways to meet people and stay connected. These may include support groups, classes, day services, workshops, church, religious or spiritual groups and exercise classes. For local information see: Activities and leisure and West Sussex County Council's Specialist day services page.

This film is taken from the Social Care Institute for Excellence's website and introduces six people seeking to live well with dementia. 

Social Care TV: Getting to know the person with dementia: the impact of diagnosis

Keep well and active

Leading a healthier lifestyle can help to keep us physically and mentally fit and reduce the chance of getting illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. It is also important for maintaining mood and wellbeing. This factsheet produced by the Alzheimer's Society explains why keeping physically active is important for people living with dementia. It also gives examples of suitable exercises and physical activities for people in different stages of dementia.

This film from the Wellbeing Service shows how exercise and good advice are helping hundreds of West Sussex residents keep well and active. 

 

Diagnosis

Memory Assessment Service (MAS) and Dementia Assessment Team

This service is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society. The service provides early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care if you, or someone you care for, have problems associated with dementia as early as possible. Referral is through your GP or through health professionals in other community teams, hospital consultants and learning disability services.

Experiencing difficulties related to your diagnosis?

Consider getting support by having a health and social care self or supported assessment of your needs so a care plan can be drawn up. You may have to pay for all or some of the help arranged by social services, depending on your income and savings. Your carer will also be given the opportunity to complete a Carer's Assessment of their needs. To arrange an assessment, contact your GP.

You or your carer may also be entitled to financial benefits. Visit the GOV.UK website for up-to-date information.

Services and adaptations

In the early stages of dementia, many people are able to look after their homes in the same way as before their diagnosis. However, as the illness gets worse it is likely you will find it difficult to look after yourself and your home and you may need help with daily activities.

Your home can be adapted to enable you to stay safe, mobile and independent, and you can find practical advice in this section. The NHS website also has some useful information about aids and equipment, including available funding.

Assistive technology

Assistive technology refers to devices or systems that support a person to maintain or improve their independence, safety and wellbeing. More information about assistive technology and dementia can be found  the Alzheimer's Society website.

Telecare can ensure a minor event does not turn into a crisis. When something significant happens an alarm is raised and an appropriate response is provided promptly.  Information on Telecare can be found on the equipment page.

Dementia friends

The Dementia Friends initiative aims to dispel some of the myths about dementia and improve public understanding of the condition.

A Dementia Friends one-hour information session will help you to understand more about what it is like to live with dementia.

Visit the Dementia Friends website to find out more.

The Dementia Guide is a helpful guide produced by the Alzheimer’s Society for anyone who has recently been told they have dementia. It can be found in different languages as well as a video version in British Sign Language.

You or your carer may also be entitled to financial benefits. Visit the GOV.UK website for up-to-date information.

There are lots of ways you can help with dementia research, if this is something you want to do. Have a look on the Alzheimer’s Society website to find out ways of taking part whether you are directly affected by dementia or just interested in dementia research. 

Websites you may be interested in

NHS - Dementia guide

Information for people with dementia and their families and friends.

nhs.uk/conditions/dementia

Alzheimer's Society

Information and support for people with dementia and their family and friend carers.

alzheimers.org.uk

Carers Support West Sussex

Support for family and friend carers

carerssupport.org.uk