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Debbie's story

Warwickshire County Council is supporting World Alzheimer’s Month and highlighting the support available to our residents

Warwickshire County Council is supporting World Alzheimer’s Month and highlighting the support available to our residents with dementia and people with a caring responsibility for anyone affected by dementia.

Dementia Connect in Warwickshire, provided by Alzheimer’s Society, offers tailored practical and emotional support and advice for Warwickshire residents who are living with dementia or their family and loved ones who care for them. Debbie used the Dementia Connect service for advice and support while she helped to care for her father who was diagnosed with dementia.

“Dementia Connect provided services to support myself and my mother while we cared for my father who had dementia.

“My dad was diagnosed with dementia in 2018, at that point we were unaware of how the condition would develop and I wanted to know more about the disease. I did some online training to learn more about the early stages of dementia.

“My first contact with Dementia Connect was when we reached the stage where both my mum and I were struggling to cope with my dad's behaviour as the disease progressed. The training I had previously completed didn’t provide me with the knowledge of what to do in those circumstances and we were in need of additional guidance.

“I called the national Dementia Connect helpline and they put me in touch with a local Dementia Advisor. The Advisor was able to come out to mum and dad’s house. Receiving support over that time really helped both my mum and dad come to terms with what was facing them. Having the Advisor come out was great as we received information in short chunks rather than all in one go. My parents don’t use much technology so having face to face contact was great. Dementia Connect put everything into plain English for my dad and it helped him to understand what was happening.

“At the time I also wanted to know about local groups I could attend with my dad, and they were able to give us lots of information. I also wanted to know about ways I could keep my dad cognitively occupied. He used to enjoy a lot of hobbies but as his disease progressed he was unable to concentrate on reading a book or newspaper, so we had an idea of creating a record of his history and include photographs of familiar faces, which I did with my dad. My mum also received advice about how she could care for dad, they also told us about organisations who provide respite care for her and our Advisor was able to advise us on managing my dad’s changing behaviour. Our advisor was also able to provide guidance on Lasting Power of Attorney.

“Our Dementia Advisor got to know us as a family, and they got to know who we were. Because the Advisor had been to our house, dad was able to remember the Advisor and saw him as an expert, so he was more inclined to listen to him.

“I could follow up through emails and phone calls for any additional support that I needed, which I did as dad’s condition progressed. I also received further support about care homes, pension changes and benefits we could receive as a result of changes in income. We always got advice at the point that we needed it.

“I emailed my Advisor on a few occasions, more for moral support, and our Advisor was great. The support we received wasn’t just aimed at my dad with the condition, but also at those around him who were caring for him. We received excellent support, even follow up calls just to check that we were OK and whether we needed anything. They were such a great help to us.”

Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health added:

“Warwickshire County Council is proud to support World Alzheimer’s Month. We have a range of services throughout the county to support not only those living with dementia, but also for their loved ones and for those with a caring responsibility of someone affected by dementia.

“As a carer, it’s important that you are fully supported to ensure that you can care for your loved one. Throughout Covid-19 support continues to be available both online and over the phone. Whether you have specific questions, want to know more about dementia or access support groups, you can do all of this through The Dementia Connect service.”

Dementia Connect in Warwickshire is provided by Alzheimer’s Society. It is currently available online and over the phone and can offer support on a wide range of topics and answer any questions. For more information visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiaconnect or call 0333 150 3456.

You can watch Debbie’s full story here: https://youtu.be/7jB63uneTXc 

Published: 21st September 2020