There are 8,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in Warwickshire, although many more people are affected by dementia, including those who are caring for people with the condition.
There is help in Warwickshire to support the person who has been diagnosed with dementia and for those who are around them. Early diagnosis of dementia can help to make sense of the symptoms and provide any support or guidance that’s needed.
Early diagnosis allows for:
The person living with dementia and their family can seek out informed advice to get a better understanding.
Identify the type of support that will work.
Allow everyone to make informed decisions and plans for the future.
Councillor Margaret Bell, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said:
“Dementia can be a tough subject to talk about and we know it can be a very sensitive and private time, but there are services throughout Warwickshire that can provide relevant information and advice to help you and the person diagnosed with dementia to access the help and support needed.
“There is support for everyone so please talk to your GP if you have any concerns about your memory.”
Andy*, 32, works for a local care home and also provides support to his father Danny* – who is living with Dementia. Andy discusses the support he has received to help him care for his father:
“My life before I registered as an unpaid carer was hectic to say the least! I have a shift-based job so I am not always certain of when I will be needed in work.”
“My dad is amazing, and I feel all the love and care he gave to me while I was growing up should be reflected in the help I give him, now that he is living with Dementia. I got myself in a rut and would work, look after dad, work, look after dad, and this went on for a number of years. I hid my anguish and mental health problems (mainly depression) from my friends and wider family. They called me Superman, but even Superman has off days.
“My off day was on a rainy day in November 2017 when I hadn’t slept as dad had been up most of the night, I had done a double shift and was going to take dad to one of his day services – when I collapsed. The doctors said it was exhaustion and luckily for me and dad – my neighbour had spotted me falling over in the garden and had come over to see what was wrong. He called an ambulance, and they were able to treat me on the scene for minor cuts and wounds – however, the paramedic said this was a warning sign and that I needed to take a break and slow down. That’s when I contacted my GP.
“My GP was able to register me as an unpaid carer and point me in the direction of Department for Work and Pensions, who can advise eligibility for Carers Allowance. For everything else I contacted Warwickshire County Council and Caring Together Warwickshire.
“It’s really not about the money -it’s about knowing people know that you are a carer. Without the scare I would have soldiered on and wouldn’t have let anybody know I wasn’t really coping. By registering status as having a caring role means I have access to networks specific to dads dementia and even though I’m shy – I even participated in a few forum chats with the carers. It really does help to hear people with the same issues as you.
“Dad now goes to a service once a week and I’ve chatted with work and they have suggested I have a day off so that I can catch up on things I want to do and of course the housework is never too far away!”
The Living well with dementia website provides support and practical advice to everyone and can help those both living with dementia and those who support someone with dementia to understand more about the condition, prepare for the future and access other services.
Support is also available for unpaid carers of someone who has been diagnosed with dementia. Caring Together Warwickshire is funded by the council and provided by Carers Trust Heart of England. The service offers advice for all carers including those supporting someone with dementia. The service can be reached via the website http://www.caringtogetherwarwickshire.org.uk or freephone 0800 197 5544.
* Real names have been changed to protect identities.