Caring for an older relative with dementia is a huge responsibility so seeking extra help is not only understandable but often necessary. This is our introductory guide to the many dementia services and charities in Sussex which might be able to help you and your family.
There are many different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and fronto-temporal dementia, and each strain requires different care.
Memory Assessment Service (MAS)
First of all, Memory Assessment Services can help to diagnose any memory problems your older relative may have. Furthermore, they also investigate what dementia services are most suitable to supporting them. The service is run by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society. You can access a MAS through a referral from your relative’s GP.
The charity Alzheimer’s Society supports dementia sufferers and their carers, running services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can use their simple search tool to find dementia services local to you.
In Sussex, the Alzheimer’s Society offers a wide variety of dementia services including:
- ‘Carer Information & Support’ providing help for carers
- ‘See Haven Clubs’ where people with dementia can socialise and take part in activities
- Dementia advisers who offer guidance on living with dementia
- ‘Singing for the Brain’, group music therapy for people with dementia
- Cognitive Stimulation
- Dementia support, offering practical guidance from experienced support workers
- Memory support service
- Peer support groups
- Dementia Cafés and lunch clubs
Alzheimer’s Society also offers support and advice nationally, including on their Talking Point forum, or via their helpline 0300 222 1122.
Admiral Nurses, run by the charity Dementia UK, are specialist dementia nurses who help families live more positively with ddementia. Working in the community as well as in hospitals, hospices and care homes, Admiral Nurses empower those living with the condition.
Older people with dementia who are registered with a Brighton and Hove CCG can access The Brighton and Hove Admiral Nurse Service, after they have been referred by a healthcare professional. Elsewhere, the West Sussex Admiral Nurse Service with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust can be accessed if a dementia sufferer is registered with a GP in the Crawley CCG or Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG. GPs can refer someone to the service with permission from their carer.
You can find out more information about local Admiral Nurse Teams on their website.
Admiral Nurses also have a national helpline so if you have a question about dementia you can contact an Admiral Nurse by phone or email to seek their advice.
This small local charity provides localised dementia services to support those with the illness and their families. Their aim is to improve not just their medical condition but every aspect of their lives.
Know Dementia offers home visits, financial advice, social activities (including sport and music sessions) and support for coping with the diagnosis. They have a host of other dementia services to offer, which you can read about here, including giving people the chance to socialise with other people who share their condition.
People who are dementia carers themselves run the charity, alongside qualified professionals. As a result, they pride themselves on empathising with service users. You can find out more about how they can help you and what events are coming up on their website
Living Well With Dementia
Living Well With Dementia is a high-quality health service for dementia sufferers located at The Harold Kidd Unit in Chichester. They have a Memory Assessment Service and they care for older people with mental health problems. In addition, this unit treats men who suffer from dementia related distress.
Alternatively, Dementia Crisis is also run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and offers a similar service in Haywards Heath and Worthing.
Engage & Create
A not-for-profit organisation in Brighton, Engage & Create, aims to reach out to people with dementia and improve the quality of life through discussions about art. These ‘Ignite Sessions’ give people with dementia the chance to engage in intellectual discussions in a safe and dementia friendly environment. You can find out more about Ignite Sessions and how to book them here.
Furthermore, they also provide training programmes to help other organisations become more dementia friendly and offer virtual reality ‘pop-up dementia experiences’ to those without dementia so they can put themselves in the shoes of someone who does.
Care And Nursing Homes
There are an abundance of care and nursing homes in Sussex that provide specialised care for dementia sufferers. If your relative is unable to continue living at home due to their condition, then moving them to a specialist home might an option you want to consider.
Brighton and Hove Dementia Action Alliance
Finally, the Brighton and Hove Dementia Action Alliance are a partnership who work with businesses, the local authority, volunteers and dementia sufferers to make Brighton a Dementia Friendly Community. A community is ‘Dementia Friendly’ if it has been approved by the Alzheimer’s Society as accessible for people with dementia.
They aim to improve life for people with dementia in Brighton & Hove and raise awareness of the condition. You can find out more about their aims and meetings here.
Members of the alliance include:
- Age UK Brighton and Hove
- Brighton & Hove Buses
- Brighton and Hove Food Partnership
- BRUNSWICK WARD – SUSSEX PARTNERSHIP NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Burwash Pharmacy
- Fresh Start Portslade
- Life Story Practice
- Older LGBT Project
- Sail Boat Project CIC
- The Trust for Developing Communities
There are other Dementia Action Alliances across Sussex, all aiming to transform the lives of local dementia sufferers. You can find your local alliance here.