Some of the more commonly asked questions we’ve received regarding Dementia are answered for you below. You may also find the other articles within our Dementia section useful such as: How to best manage behaviours that challenge and Worried about their memory? Hopefully the answers here will help as a starting point for you but if you are looking for care, Care Sourcer offers a free searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, we also have a team of care experts who are available by telephone to help guide you through the process.
Are people with dementia capable of making decisions for themselves?
Unless there’s evidence that the person with dementia cannot make their own decisions, they are not allowed to be made on their behalf. People that have dementia should be supported and encouraged to continue to make their own choices for as long as possible. Their GP can conduct an assessment to determine the level of capacity, if needed.
Am I entitled to any benefits, as a person who has dementia?
Yes, it’s likely you’ll be entitled to one or more of the following: pension credit, council tax exemptions and/or attendance allowances. It’s best to check with Citizen’s Advice as they will be able to talk through all your possibilities and exactly how to apply for each.
What might help the isolation that can be a part of dementia?
Alzheimer’s Scotland or Alzheimer’s Society (throughout the UK) are two very useful and knowledgeable resources to reach out to on this topic. As they can easily put you in touch with monthly events around the country including dementia cafes and meet up groups that use music to encourage reconnection while being in the company of those experiencing similar situations. Both services also run dementia helplines.
Can a person living with dementia execute a Power of Attorney?
It depends on the level of their individual Dementia, which can only be legally determined by a doctor. This is quite a complex issue and the quickest way to receive all the relevant information based on your individual needs is to contact Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
I have dementia, will I have to stop driving now?
It’s a legal requirement to declare your diagnosis to the DVLA, and a fine is possible if you fail to do this. After this formality, unless your doctor has advised that you should no longer drive the DVLA will send you a questionnaire to get permission to see your medical report. A DVLA adviser will then make a decision as to whether you can continue to drive. If so, you’ll be issued a new driving licence, valid usually for a year but sometimes longer. To be reviewed once again on expiry. If it is decided you cannot drive and you don’t agree with this assessment, you are entitled to appeal.
Is there a cure for dementia?
Despite there being no cure for dementia, getting a diagnosis early means the appropriate support, treatment and advice can be given. It’s very likely that medication will help as there’s medication available for all types of dementia to help alleviate symptoms and slow it’s progression.
I’m quite certain my loved one has developed dementia, but refuses to see a doctor or discuss. How do I get them the help they clearly need?
Remain on your loved one’s side and make sure they know you understand. Dementia professionals often use the term “a timely diagnosis”, meaning sometimes it’s about when the individual is ready to address the issue that is the best time. Of course, if you’re extremely concerned you can arrange a GP to have a home visit, perhaps the familiar surroundings would be a calmer backdrop for them while addressing this.
What exactly happens during a GP assessment to establish whether it is in fact dementia?
A cognitive assessment is what is needed to determine whether it is dementia. Additionally, sometimes blood pressure may be checked, blood tests carried out and in some cases an MRI scan is useful.
Is there anything I can do now, that will help my loved one with dementia in the future?
A useful starting point in terms of planning ahead is to talk to them about their life and if you know the answers already that’s a great start. In order to slowly build up a scrapbook or similar of information on their interests, achievements, happiest times, dreams, family tree, inspirations, favourite music, allergies, etc. The more detail, range and information the better. For purposes later on in their condition, for their carers to have a reference point rather than asking them questions from scratch. Of course sometimes this is not appropriate, but it can be a very helpful tool in the longer term when possible.