What is dementia?
Dementia is a term that describes a group of related symptoms, such as memory loss, that occurs when there's a decline in brain function. There are many different causes of dementia, and symptoms can include problems with thinking speed, movement, understanding, mental sharpness and quickness as well as others.
There are over 16,000 people living with dementia in Surrey. It is not a natural part of ageing and some rarer types can affect people under the age of 65.
Worried about someone?
If someone you know is becoming increasingly forgetful or confused, you should encourage them to speak with a GP as soon as possible. They may be able to make a diagnosis or refer them to a specialist in the area required.
NHS, Alzheimer's Society or Dementia UK websites can provide useful information about diagnosing dementia, how it can affect you, and treatments which may reduce the symptoms and slow down its progress.
Living at home with dementia
In the early stages of dementia, most people are able to continue to live at home and carry on as before. However, as the illness progresses it is likely that you will require support to help look after yourself and your home.
Applying for a needs assessment
Applying for a needs assessment through your local council, will help you identify where you may benefit from help, such as with meals or housework.
There are many care and support services available to help you live independently such as;
- home care help with things like cleaning and shopping
- disability equipment and adaptations to your home
- day centres to give you or the person who cares for you a break
How to make life easier at home
If you have Alzheimer's disease, or any other type of dementia, there is care and support available to help you live independently, including:
- Help with meals
- Equipment and technology including GPS Location Services offered by Runnymede and Surrey Heath Borough Council's with both available for residents all over Surrey.
Looking after someone with dementia
Looking after someone with dementia can be challenging, but there is support for carers to ensure you are able to cope with the changes along the way. You may not see yourself as a carer, especially if you are a partner, relative or close friend of the person with dementia, but it is a good idea to:
- make sure you're registered as a carer with your GP
- apply for a carer's assessment
- check if you're eligible for benefits for carers
Our new joint dementia strategy introduces our new vision for the Dementia Care pathway, which seeks to improve outcomes for people with dementia and their unpaid carers and families.
Local support in the Surrey area
Dementia Connect, Alzheimer's Society's dementia support service provides people affected by dementia with the personalised support they need, when they need it, by phone, online and face to face.
The service operates at a local and national level, connecting people with support in their community, while offering phone and online help seven days a week.
Cafes and support centres
- Local dementia cafes and dementia carer support groups provide support to people living with dementia and the people looking after them.
- Wellbeing centres offer a variety of support services ranging from information and advice, classes and groups, drop in sessions and exercise classes. The services are aimed at supporting people with memory loss, dementia and associated problems. Specialist support workers at the Wellbeing Centre's can assist you to navigate through the maze of services and enable you to get the help and support you need when dealing with memory loss.
- Surrey Information Point holds information and contact details for over 5,000 clubs, organisations and services in the Surrey area including services and organisations for someone with dementia.