Dementia FAQ's & Support Services

A dementia diagnosis often comes with many questions, which in this blog, we hope to answer. There is support out there for you, you may just need a help to find it.

Navigating the complexities of dementia can be challenging for individuals and their loved ones. Understanding the condition, its symptoms, and the available support services is crucial for providing the best care and improving the quality of life for those affected. In this blog, we address the most frequently asked questions about dementia and explore various support services designed to assist patients and caregivers on this journey. Whether you are seeking information for a recently diagnosed loved one or looking for resources to enhance care, this guide offers valuable insights and practical advice.

‘How do you support someone with dementia?’

Giving generic advice for caring for someone with dementia can be tricky as dementia affects people in a variety of ways and to different degrees. This said, there are some practical tips which help in most circumstances, these are detailed below.

  • Maintain Routine – Establishing a predictable daily routine can help reduce confusion and anxiety
  • Effective Communication – Use simple sentences and speak slowly and clearly. Maintain eye contact and allow time for the person to process.
  • Provide Assistance: Offer assistance (when needed) with daily tasks such as dressing, eating, and bathing, while still encouraging independence.
  • Risk Asses Home – Make their environment safe by removing potential risks (e.g. faulty appliances, broken furniture, turned-up rugs)
  • Encourage Social Activities – Include hobbies (e.g. listening to music/ watching the football) attend social groups that relate to interests
  • Take Care of Yourself – Being a family-carer if a full-time job, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you are likely to burn out. Seek reliable and regular cover to allow you to take a well-needed rest, and time to yourself. Respite support is always a great option.

If you have any more questions about supporting people living with dementia, feel free to get in touch with our office  for free advice from trained professionals, who are well-versed in supporting family carers.

‘What are dementia support groups?’

Dementia support groups are organised events designed to provide emotional, social, and practical support to individuals affected by dementia, including those diagnosed with the condition, and those that are caring for them. At Home Instead Swansea, we have seen first hand the benefits that such groups can have on their members through our ‘Memory Café‘; watching friendships form and trust build amongst people in similar positions. Swansea has some great dementia-friendly support groups on offer, including; Forget Me Not, Musical Memories Choir and Sporting Memories.

If you are looking for social groups in Swansea, we’ve made a ‘What’s On Where Guide‘ crammed full of all the best we could find. We have free digital and physical copies available, so don’t hesitate to order yours!

‘How dementia is diagnosed’

Getting diagnosed with dementia in Swansea, as in any other location, generally follows a standard process involving healthcare professionals and specialised services. Here’s an outline of what the process might look like:

  1. Primary Care Visit – It usually starts with a visit to a GP. They will take a detailed medical history, including symptoms, their duration, and any relevant family history. The GP may also conduct a physical examination to assess overall health.
  2. Referral to Specialist: If the GP suspects dementia based on initial assessment, they may refer the individual to a specialist for further evaluation. This could be a neurologist, geriatrician, psychiatrist, or a memory clinic specialising in cognitive disorders.
  3. Specialist Evaluation: The specialist will conduct a more thorough assessment, which may include: Cognitive tests, and neurological and psychiatric evaluation.
  4. Diagnostic Tests: Depending on the specialist’s findings, further tests may be ordered. These may include CT or MRI scans to look for structural changes in the brain, and blood tests to rule out other medical conditions that could mimic dementia symptoms, such as thyroid problems or vitamin deficiencies.
  5. Confirmation and Diagnosis: Once all assessments and tests are completed, the specialist will make a diagnosis based on established criteria.
  6. Post-Diagnosis Planning: After a diagnosis is made, the healthcare team will discuss treatment options, which may include medications to manage symptoms, supportive therapies, and lifestyle adjustments.

If you want assistance with the process, we always recommend getting in touch with Swansea’s Dementia Hwb for advice. They also have dementia specialists who can provide an initial ‘Memory Test’ which can be sent direct to your GP to save time.

Are dementia and alzheimer’s the same?

Simply put, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, but not all dementia cases are due to Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Dementia: Refers to a group of symptoms affecting cognitive functions like memory and thinking, enough to interfere with daily life. It’s caused by damage to brain cells.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Is a specific and common cause of dementia. It involves the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain, leading to progressive brain cell damage and cognitive decline.

Can dementia come on suddenly?

Dementia typically develops gradually over time, often progressing slowly. However, in some cases, there can be a more sudden onset of symptoms. This is more commonly seen in certain types of dementia, such as vascular dementia, where a stroke or a series of small strokes (vascular events) can lead to a sudden decline in cognitive abilities.

Can dementia be cured?

As of now, there is no cure for dementia. Dementia is a progressive condition that affects the brain, leading to a decline in cognitive abilities, memory, and other functions necessary for daily living. It is typically caused by damage to brain cells, which can result from various diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and others. While there is no cure for dementia, early diagnosis and appropriate management can help improve quality of life, manage symptoms, and slow down the progression of the condition in some cases.

What support is available for dementia?

As an award-winning dementia-specific home care provider, we have had the absolute pleasure of working alongside some incredible charities and organisations that do amazing things for people living with dementia and their families. Swansea has so much to offer those seeking dementia support, and some of the best services have been listed below:

Swansea’s Dementia Hwb is a unique sign-posting service envisioned by Hannah Davies, the Dementia Hwb Lead, following her own personal experience with dementia in her family. As a starting point, we recommend visiting the Hwb at their Quadrant office or their newly opened unit at Aberfan Shopping Centre. The Hwbs are run by volunteer industry experts, all with extensive experience and knowledge of the condition, ready to help with any questions you may have. They truly know their stuff, and if they can’t help you directly, they will know where to signpost you. If you can’t get to either of these offices, they take their services on the road, through ‘Mobile Hwbs‘, so be sure to check out their schedule.

Age Cymru is a country-wide charity, supporting people to age-well through free advice, wellbeing programmes, advocacy and carer support. They offer practical support, including help with benefits, cost of living-support and legal support, as well as well-being support through their ‘Dementia Pathfinder’ who can sign-post to support groups and community events to help combat loneliness and isolation. Our local team are super friendly, supportive, and genuinely go above and beyond their duties to ensure their clients are supporting in the best way, so we always recommend getting in touch with the team.

Dementia Connect is a service provided by our regional partners, Alzheimer’s Society. They offer free personalised help and advice, either face-to-face or over the phone. Depending on individual needs, they can provide information and signposting or ongoing support, regardless of whether someone is worried about their memory, has a diagnosis of dementia, or is a carer, family member, or friend. Lorraine King, their ‘Singing for the Brain‘ leader, runs popular singing sessions for people living with dementia, and she’s absolutely amazing at it. If you can, pop along to one of her sessions—you’ll be sure to have a great time!

Looking for specialist Dementia Care? Get in touch!

At Home Instead Swansea, we specialise in dementia care, backed by our investment in fully-accredited dementia training for our dedicated team of Care Professionals. Living with dementia can cause confusion and anxiety, so we prioritise establishing a regular routine to help limit these challenges. That’s why we offer consistent calls at times chosen by you, with Care Professionals matched to your needs who will regularly revisit to build trust and friendship.

Furthermore, our calls are always an hour long or more because quality dementia care cannot be hurried. Our clients appreciate the relaxed approach, enjoying their time with carers without feeling rushed.

If you’d like to learn more about how our services can assist you or your loved one, please give us a call on (01792) 790890 or enquire using the button below. A friendly member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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