Support following a diagnosis of dementia

Reactions to a diagnosis of dementia can vary from relief to a mixture of fear, anger or denial. Helping people come to terms with their diagnosis, to make decisions and plan ahead is critical in supporting them to live well with dementia. This section looks at managing symptoms for day-to-day living, staying healthy, planning for the future, safeguarding people with dementia and accepting the diagnosis of dementia.

Quick guide cover

Discussing and planning support after diagnosis

A quick guide for people with dementia and their family and carers.

Managing symptoms of dementia

Managing symptoms

Try to value what a person with dementia can do rather than focus on what they can't do. Managing the symptoms of dementia can help people stay in control of their lives. Care workers can play a vital role in helping a person with dementia to maintain their independence and confidence. Patience, respect and being a good listener are key qualities in providing the right support to people with dementia and their friends and families.

Staying healthy for those with dementia

Staying healthy

It is easier for someone with dementia to take on new challenges and lead a meaningful and positive life when they feel well. Regular eye, hearing and dental checks are critical in maintaining good health and wellbeing. Care workers have an important role to play in encouraging and supporting people to stay active. Illness and the possibility of being admitted to hospital may cause great anxiety and stress and potentially affect a person's ability to remain in their own home.

Planning for the future

Planning for the future enables people to play a key role in making important decisions on their care needs, and financial and legal affairs. In time, dementia will make a job too difficult to do and the person will eventually have to give up work. Having to give up driving can have an impact on how and where a person lives and their freedom to do things.

Safeguarding people with dementia

Safeguarding people with dementia

Many people report feeling uncomfortable around people with dementia and unaware of how to help someone who has it. A care worker has a key role to play in helping to ensure a person with dementia lives safely in their own home. As a person comes to terms with a diagnosis of dementia and adapts to their new life, they may become vulnerable to abuse. It is important that people requiring care and those providing care have a common understanding of human rights.

Accepting a diagnosis of dementia

Accepting diagnosis

Many people diagnosed with dementia believe that very little can or will be done for them, particularly in the early stages. Good advice and support are available from a wide range of health professionals and organisations, dementia charities and older people's organisations. A growing number of peer support groups play an important role in helping people to come to terms with their diagnosis. Dementia cafes and internet forums provide valuable advice and guidance for people with dementia and their carers.

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Information for commissioners

Local commissioners should make sure the right services are in place in their area, so that people living with dementia and their carers get the support and services they need.

Find out more about Dementia