Living well with dementia
Dementia affects everyday life of the person who has it, as well as their family. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, the following information pages will help you to live well with the condition
Research shows that social interaction with others is important for our wellbeing. It can help 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.
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
Having dementia does not necessarily mean that you have to stop working, but once you have a diagnosis, it's probably best to tell your employer if you want to carry on working. The Alzheimer's Society has produced a useful leaflet that gives advice about how dementia can affect you at work. It also includes how to talk to your employer about your diagnosis and information about your pension and any benefits you may be entitled to.
People with dementia can often continue driving for some time, if they don't find it too stressful. But they may have to give up driving when their symptoms make it unsafe. To continue driving you must tell your insurance company and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that you have dementia..
You can find local information including maps and guides, concessionary travel and community travel in the local groups and activities pages.
Planning for the future
If you've had a diagnosis of dementia, it's important to plan ahead by organising your financial and legal affairs while you're still able to make clear decisions. It may be a good idea to seek professional advice to help you decide the best course of action for you and your loved ones. The following pages will provide information to help you to plan for the future
Lasting power of attorney
Some people choose to plan ahead for their future following a diagnosis of dementia, by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA allows you to appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf if, in the future, you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. The person you appoint would be able to manage your finances and make decisions for you about your health and welfare.
The factsheet by the Alzheimer's Society explains what an LPA is and why you might consider making one.
What if my loved one has not planned ahead?
If your loved one has lost the ability to manage their own affairs, and they did not make advance care decisions or set up an LPA, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection is the specialist court for all issues relating to people who lack capacity to make specific decisions. The Court can appoint deputies to make decisions about someone's property, financial affairs, healthcare and personal welfare. The deputy would normally be someone close to your loved one.
A leaflet produced by HM Courts & Tribunals Service gives more information about making an application to the Court of Protection.
Information about what you need to do if your loved one has been assessed as lacking mental capacity to make certain decisions can be found by visiting our Advocacy page.
More information about planning for the future can be found at NHS Choices.
End of life care
As dementia progresses it may cause, or be a significant factor in, someone dying. As dementia often reduces a person's ability to make choices for themselves, talking and planning about a person's wishes and priorities at an early stage may allow for the person with dementia to be more in control of their future care. The NHS choices website provides a very useful guide on planning for the future. It contains information about what you can expect during end of life care and the things you may want to think about, such as where you might wish to receive your care at the end of your life. The Alzheimer's Society has also produced some useful information on end of life care.