Living with dementia

If you are worried about your memory or you receive a diagnosis of Dementia it can be a worrying time and you may be feeling confused and concerned about your future.  It is important to realise that you can live a healthy and active life with the help and support of organisations in your local area.

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About dementia

Dementia is a common condition for people over the age of 65. As you get older, you may find that memory loss becomes a problem. It’s normal for your memory to be affected by age, stress, tiredness, or certain illnesses and medications. This can be concerning if it happens occasionally, but if it’s affecting your daily life or is worrying you or someone you know, you should seek help from your GP.

If you do have dementia, an early diagnosis may help you get the right treatment and support in place in good time.

Young onset dementia

People with dementia whose symptoms started before they were 65 are often described as ‘younger people with dementia’ or as having young-onset dementia.  The age of 65 is used because it is the age at which people traditionally retired. However, this is an artificial cut-off point without any biological significance.  The symptoms of dementia are not determined by a person’s age, but younger people often have different needs, and require some different support.  You can find more information on the Alzheimer’s Society and Young Dementia UK websites.

South Gloucestershire Council's Dementia Guide

The South Gloucestershire Council's Dementia Guide contains a large amount of information on living with dementia including support for ethnic minority groups, financial and legal services, bereavement support, health services and transport. 

Reducing the risk of dementia

There is no certain way to prevent all types of dementia. However, a healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk when you are older. It can also prevent many other long term conditions.

To reduce your risk of developing dementia and other serious health conditions, it’s recommended that you:

  • eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • get active
  • stay within the safer drinking guidelines
  • try to be smoke free

Hints and tips about the simple things we can all do are available on the Alzheimer’s Society website

Become a Dementia Friend and learn about dementia so you can help your community, by raising awareness and understanding, so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.

 Finding help and support following diagnosis 

If you have received a diagnosis of dementia it can be a worrying time and you may feel that you need support to help you come to terms with your diagnosis.

Talking to your GP can help you to understand what it means and how living with dementia could affect you and your family.  Your GP can also provide information on support services.

The Alzheimer’s society can provide help and support with all aspects of dementia and how it can affect people’s lives. You can find out about activities in your area that provide support in a social setting and information on practical matters such as how to manage your finances.

The NHS Dementia Guide  contains practical information on living with dementia including how to get a needs assessment, care options at home and details of the HNS Dementia Information service.

The South Gloucestershire Dementia Action Alliance is committed to supporting communities and organisations in South Gloucestershire to become dementia aware, accessible, and inclusive to help people with dementia to live well and be a part of their community. 

Dementia advisors and Dementia support workers - can help you understand the diagnosis, provide emotional support to cope with the ongoing challenges of living with dementia, share ideas and tips to enable you to live well in your own home, provide information about support services and to consider future planning for your health and wellbeing wishes.

Dementia advisors cover Thornbury, Patchway, Bradley Stoke and Yate and  can be contacted via the Sirona Single Point of Access 0300 1256565 or by contacting your GP.

Dementia support workers cover Kingswood, Hanham, Staple Hill, Cadbury Heath and Oldland Common and can be contacted via your GP or the Alzheimers Society.

Social activities and exercise groups

When you are living with dementia it is important to stay physically active and to be involved in your local community as much as you can.  The South Gloucestershire Healthy Lifestyles directory provides details of many social activities and exercise classes available in your area. These activities can help to you to meet new people even learn new skills.

South Gloucestershire Memory Cafes are held in area across the district and provide a friendly and supportive environment for people living with dementia and their carers. The cafes provide an opportunity to socialise in a relaxed environment and to take part in different activities.

South Gloucestershire Living well with Dementia roadshows

Being diagnosed with dementia can leave the person with dementia and their family and friends with lots of questions about what they can expect and what they can do to plan for the future. 

The Living well with Dementia roadshow will include useful information about these and many other issues and will be open to everyone.

We are working with the Alzheimer’s Society and will be running a Dementia Roadshow as part of Dementia Action Week 2020.  The details and booking arrangements will available here as soon as the details have been finalised.

Wellaware contains information about a wide range of health and social support groups within South Gloucestershire.  You can find information on activities such as gardening groups, book clubs or cookery classes.

If you need transport to get to any social activities, health appointments or to go to your local shops South Gloucestershire Community transport has details of community transport groups operating in the district.  Community transport provides door to door pick up and also trips to local attractions. 

Support whilst living at home

If you find personal care or other activities at home difficult to manage you could benefit from Homecare.

A Homecare agency can provide someone to visit you in your home, helping you to carry out personal care or household activities.

Details of Homecare agencies can be found on the Care Quality Commission website.  There will be a charge for Homecare services, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance to help with the cost.

Assistive Technology equipment can support you to stay living in your own home for longer.  There is equipment that can provide reminders to take medication and clocks that let you know if it is day or night.  

The Disabled Living Foundation have a variety of  information on equipment that can help you stay safe at home and when you are out and about. 

If you have a friend or family member who supports and cares for you in your home, the Carers Support Centre provides advice, support and information for carers living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Day Centres.  If you and your family feel you would benefit from attending a social setting with others you may consider attending a day care facility.  This service will enable you to participate in activities and keep you occupied during the day. Attending a Day Centre will also enable your family member respite time during the day.  For further details about day centres in South Gloucestershire contact the Age UK Day Services manager on 01454 411707  option 3 or via email dayservices@ageuksouthglos.org.uk.

Safe Places is a service to help vulnerable people with communication difficulties stay safe when they are out and about.

South Gloucestershire Conversation Group

South Gloucestershire Conversation Group (for people with a diagnosis of Primary Progressive Aphasia) is a conversation group course for people with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of dementia, which affects a person’s language and communication skills initially.

The group meets eighteen times a year at Longwell Green. It is a social group in a supportive and friendly environment providing the opportunity to learn and practice new ways to help people to communicate, and to support each other in conversation as much as possible. Meetings take place at Longwell Green Community Centre on Thursdays between 10.30am and 12:00 noon. You will need to be referred to the service. To find out more, please contact: Speech and Language Therapy, Speech and Hearing Outpatients Department, Cossham Hospital. Phone: 0117 4145130.

Cambrian Green Day Services

Cambrian Green is a day care facility for people who have dementia. Attendance is dependant upon receiving a Care Assessment to determine need.  To arrange for a Care Assessment contact the CSO Desk on 01454 868007.

The service provides:

  • Social interaction: To give people who may be socially isolated the opportunity to meet other people in their local community.
  • Planned activities: To provide meaningful occupation and enjoyment throughout the day.
  • Short breaks for Carers: To give carers the opportunity to pursue their own activities and have quality time for themselves.

Read the latest copy of the Cambrian Green Summer Newsletter here. For more information about the service contact the Centre Manager Beth Tovey on 01454 864790.

Real Life With Dementia - Practical training course
For Carers.

Coping with 'Real Life with Dementia' may be challenging. What we know is that the more knowledgeable carers are about dementia and how to manage the changes that can and will happen, the better the quality of life will be for the person with dementia
and those who care for them.

This service offers monthly training, education and support sessions for carers. Carers who attend gather information and practical advice for better managing life at home now and in the future.

Referral is required to attend the course. Please contact Beth Tovey:
Email: beth.tovey@southglos.gov.uk
Phone: 01454 864 791

When you are no longer able to stay in your home

If you are no longer able to stay living in your home there are other living options available. The article Finding a care home offers information on how to go about finding a suitable care home, and the article No longer safe to stay at home has information on other housing options.

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