A Practical Guide for Dementia

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Contents

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.

Mental and emotional wellbeing

Share your worries

Share your worries

Frustration, feeling 'down' and being anxious are all common in dementia. There are things you can do to cope with these and there's plenty of help available if you need it.

Depression is a particular risk early in dementia as you notice changes in your abilities that make it harder to remember things, find the right words or cope with everyday tasks.

Talking about the things that are troubling you and sharing your feelings with your partner, family members or friends can be a great help. Telling them about your diagnosis and helping them understand your dementia means they'll be in a better position to help you if you need them to.

Seeing friends and family, taking part in social activities and keeping physically fit can all help with your mental wellbeing.

Checks for yourself

Checks for yourself

If you find it's getting harder to follow conversations or concentrate on reading or watching TV, there's a couple of things to check that may be nothing to do with your dementia. Hearing and eyesight commonly decline as we get older and can be sources of frustration for anyone. Get your hearing and eyesight checked, use a hearing aid if you need it and make sure any glasses you use are the right strength. Everyone should have an eye test at least every two years and you can do an online hearing check at the Action on Hearing Loss website. You can also do the check by phone on 0844 800 3838 - it's automated, so you don't need to speak to anyone.

If you are worried that you might be depressed, the NHS website has a depression self-assessment tool to help you check whether you should see your GP. It also has a mood self-assessment tool. Both tools offer links to advice on things you can do to improve the way you feel and on whether you need to see your doctor.

If you do have depression, your GP might prescribe antidepressants, or get you an appointment with a psychiatrist. You may be offered talking therapies or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Help and support

Help and support

If you are worried that you have a mental health problem along with your dementia, you should arrange to see your GP as soon as you can.

If you become distressed and need immediate help but are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E. You can also get help and support from:

  • The Samaritans - call free 24-hours a day on 116 123
  • The MIND helpline - call 0300 123 3393 (local rate from landlines, mobile charges vary)
  • The Admiral Nursing Direct helpline - call 0845 257 9406 or email direct@dementiauk.org
  • Your local community mental health team (CMHT) or crisis and home treatment team. Some teams run a 24-hour service. Social services will be able to tell you what's available near you.

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.