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27th April 2016

Planning for the future after a diagnosis of dementia

Finding out that a loved one has dementia can initially seem daunting – even bleak.  But having the diagnosis confirmed can enable you to plan for the future together, so that you can both get the most from this next stage of your journey together.

Dementia is a progressive condition.  We know from working with hundreds of clients with dementiaacross Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Kent that an official diagnosis is just one step in your dementia journey.  It’s not the first step; you and your loved one will have been noticing gradual changes in their behaviour over months, or even years.  But it is an important step; having this information enables you to plan together to make the next stage as enjoyable as possible for both of you.

The first thing to understand is that dementia can take many forms: symptoms vary and may include memory problems, wandering, aggressiveness or a changing sense of humour.  Exactly how your loved one’s dementia progresses will be unique to them, but enabling them to access comfortable, happy memories will provide reassurance, whatever their personal dementia path.  Providing the support they need to stay in familiar surroundings is therefore a key part of your planning.

If you will be acting as their carer, you need to think together about the impact this will have on you, and plan for respite care so you are able to continue to give them the love and support they need over the coming years.  If your loved one lives alone, you may need outside assistance.  Discussingsupport packages now with expert providers, such as Terrablu, will enable you to plan successfully, rather than reaching crisis point alone.  When talking to home care providers, make sure to question them about the dementia training of staff and their experience of dealing with complex care needs.

A lot of people with dementia reach a point where they do need to be in a residential care home.  Visiting potential homes now, while your loved one is able to give their views on where they will feel most comfortable, will make the decision less onerous, if the time comes.

We have helped hundreds of people with dementia live fulfilling, independent lives in their own homes.  A diagnosis of dementia may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right planning and support, you can make sure your loved one continues to enjoy a good quality of life.