Dementia is a term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders; conditions affecting the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the many different types of dementia.
We all have moments of forgetfulness, this however does not mean we are suffering from dementia. Would you know how to recognise the signs of dementia in your parent? In our main directory of information we have a comprehensive guide ’11 Early Signs of Dementia and How To Spot Them’.
If your parent is diagnosed with dementia, they will be referred to a memory clinic or specialist. It is here where they will be able to get an accurate diagnosis of the dementia. These specialists may include age psychiatrists, geriatricians, neurologists, clinical psychologists and memory nurses.
If you are experiencing difficulty getting a diagnosis, or if you have questions you can’t get answered, Dementia UK have a helpline and will help you understand the problem and give advice and support on how to address it.
When a parent gets diagnosed with dementia, it feels like an enormous weight has been dropped on your life and it will impact the entire family. Don’t worry, there are lots of services available to you and your parent.
- Dementia UK provides specialist dementia support for families through their Admiral Nurse Most Admiral Nurses work in the community for the NHS, and others work in care homes, hospitals and hospices. The work with people and families affected by all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
- Mersey Care understand that getting the right treatment and support at the right time means it’s possible to live well with dementia. Their community and hospital-based services for people living in Liverpool, Sefton and Kirkby offer specialist assessment, medication, post diagnostic support, peer support groups, courses for carers and therapies. They also offer advice for carers.
Activities for people with dementia and keeping active
Having dementia doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy. Activities can help your parent stay independent and provide a great sense of enjoyment. Just talking with people can help raise self-esteem and prevent your parent from feeling anxious or depressed, especially when they are partaking in activities with people who can provide support and have the same interests.
There are lots of physical, mental, social and creative activities that can improve the wellbeing of those living with dementia.
Tips for supporting an elderly parent to keep active
Doing daily tasks or taking up a new interest is a big thing for someone with dementia. It should be recognised that some small changes may be required to facilitate this. Helping your parent to adapt is important. Here are some things to consider:
- It’s one step at a time. Break things down into smaller tasks.
- Keep things simple. When taking part in an activity, keep things simple and don’t push too hard.
- Don’t be hard on them. Your parent may not be able to do things as well or as quickly as they used to, and they may need support. Ensure they keep at it.
- Allow enough time, don’t rush them.
Activities to enjoy at home
Cooking is a good way to stay active at home. Encourage your parent to continue cooking as long as it is safe. Other household jobs such as washing the dishes, folding clothes or dusting objects are also good ways of keeping active at home too. If you or a carer are with them during the day, get them involved and work together around the house.
Puzzles and games are a great way to keep the mind active, try doing a crossword puzzle together, play a board game or venture into the world of technology and introduce electronic games if you think they’ll enjoy learning something new – clicking all those buttons is good for concentration and coordination.
Do some research into your local area and find out if there are any dementia-friendly activities such as swimming, gym and walking sessions.
- Mid Mersey Age UK’s Dementia Café in St Helens provides a warm welcome and comfortable environment for people with dementia and their carers to meet with others in a relaxed social setting.
- The Alzheimer’s Society, Side by Side service links people living with dementia to volunteers, so they can keep doing the things they love.
- Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton offer a Dementia Day Care centre in Liverpool which provides respite for carers and support and stimulation for people living with dementia.
- Day support care services are also available for eligible residents in Liverpool- your parent will need to have a needs assessment from Liverpool City Council conducted before they can be offered this support services. You, a family member, friend or advocate can contact the Careline adult service to arrange an assessment.
- Care for the Carer. It is also important to make sure that you, the carer, has a way to remain active too. The Alzheimer’s Society offer lots of information on Replacement (respite) Care.
Useful links on dementia