What to do following a dementia diagnosis
When you have recently been given a diagnosis of dementia, it can be a scary time. You might feel numb, afraid and not able to absorb everything.
Take some time to think and be kind to yourself.
It might be useful to speak with counsellors at a memory clinic, for example.
You can also contact the helpline of dementia charities and it will be very helpful to talk to family and friends about your feelings around the diagnosis of dementia.
When you feel ready, it’s time to create a future plan while you are still able to make important decisions about your care.
Have an assessment
Your local authority has a duty to carry out a needs assessment to develop a care package that you might need.
To set the assessment, contact social services or a doctor.
Find out what is available locally so that you are ready and able to call this support as and when you need it.
Services regulated by local authorities vary between regions but may include home care services and equipment and adaptations to your home. For information about Care homes Taunton, contact a site like Notaro, providers of Care homes Taunton.
Make a will
It is a good idea to make a will if you have not already done so. Ensure that when you die, money and possessions go to people you choose.
A person with dementia can still make or change a will, so long as you can show that you understand what you are doing and what the effects will be. Your lawyer can advise if this is the case.
Put your papers in order
Ensure important paperwork can be easily located. This may be bank statements, mortgage or lease documents, tax details, insurance policies, wills and pension documents.
Consider setting up a direct debit or standing order for monthly payments like bills. Payments will occur automatically from your bank account meaning there’s nothing to worry about.
Make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.
In particular, check to see if you are entitled to:
Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance
Your caregiver (if you have one) qualifies for Carer’s Allowance
Other benefits you may be eligible to include income support, housing benefit, council tax relief and pension credit.
Lasting power of attorney
You can appoint one or more people as an attorney to take care of your affairs, such as medical care finances and property should it become necessary.
You can choose who you believe to be responsible and trustworthy – usually a close friend or family member – but they must be over 18.
Take care of your health
It’s important to maintain your physical and mental health when you have dementia:
Depression is very common in dementia. Talk with your doctor, because there are a variety of treatments, including counselling, which can help.
Eat a healthy diet.
Exercise regularly. This can be a daily walk, gardening or try tai chi.
Ask your doctor if you would benefit from the flu shot and pneumonia vaccinations.
Have regular dental, vision and hearing check-ups.
See a doctor if you feel poorly, as infections can increase feelings of confusion if not immediately treated.