A Practical Guide for Dementia
- 0About this program
- 3Out and about
- 4Physical wellbeing
- 5Mental and emotional wellbeing
- 6Money and legal matters
- 7Social life and relationships
- 8Support when you need it
- 9Staying independent
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Out and about
Having dementia doesn't mean you have to stay at home all time - getting out and being active is good for you. If you work, you don't have to stop but you must tell your employer in certain jobs, such as those that involve using machinery, driving or the armed forces. It's a good idea anyway to tell your employer about your dementia. The Equality Act means employers must treat you fairly. It gives you the right have 'reasonable adjustments' made so that you can keep working for as long as possible. That could mean things like changing your role to take some pressure off you, or reducing your hours so you don't have to concentrate for so long. Some employers even create a 'buddy' system where a colleague who knows you and your role can support you if needs be.
You don't necessarily have to stop driving straight away with dementia, but you must tell the DVLA and your insurer of your diagnosis. You won’t be able to drive lorries or passenger vehicles, but you may be able to keep on driving your car or motorcycle - if you can continue, your licence will usually need renewing annually.
Check the information leaflet with any medicines you take - some have side effects that mean you shouldn't drive. If you do stop driving, most areas have free or reduced-cost schemes for getting about, such as bus passes, railcards and services such as dial-a-ride. There are also voluntary services that can provide transport. Your local social services can tell you what's available. Depending on your circumstances, the NHS might cover travel costs if you need to go to hospital or a specialist clinic for tests or treatment. See help with health costs on the NHS website.
Flying and holidays
So long as you are happy to do it, there's no reason not to jet off on holiday. Dementia affects people in different ways; for some travel is an ordeal while others do it with ease. If you are going abroad, tell your travel insurance company about your diagnosis and if you need someone to sit with you, tell the airline when you book. Some airports offer travellers with dementia a discreet lanyard to wear to let staff know they might need help. Many UK airport staff have had training to help them understand the needs of travellers with dementia.
There's good information online about travelling with dementia, including holidays and travellingfrom the Alzheimer's Society. There are also specialist travel firms that offer supported holidays and short breaks for people with dementia and their families - search online for 'dementia holiday'.