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Date: May 16, 2021
The goal of Dementia Action Week is to encourage people to take action to improve the lives of those affected by dementia, working to create a dementia-friendly UK where those with dementia do not feel excluded.
There are 850,000 people in the UK who are affected by dementia, and it does not just affect the elderly, 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 suffer from early-onset dementia. It is believed that by 2051 the number of people who have dementia in the UK will have risen to 2 million.
There are over 200 subtypes of dementia, but the five most common are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. Some people may have a combination of different types of dementia and these are commonly called mixed dementia.
The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia, they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.
Regardless of which type of dementia is diagnosed and what part of the brain is affected, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.
It is not just the individual with dementia that is affected by the illness. Dementia can have a profound effect on friends and families too. Because although caring for someone with dementia can be rewarding, it can also be incredibly challenging.
Music and Dementia
Music is a wonderful connector and has the ability to bring people together in the here and now. It can enliven, stimulate and enable people living with dementia to express themselves creatively through musical engagement.
Research shows – and lived experiences demonstrate – that music can help reduce the often distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, apathy and anxiety.
Poignantly, music supports people living with dementia to communicate beyond words. It also supports emotional health and wellbeing, particularly at a time when emotions can be overwhelming or difficult to process or manage.
So, not only does music have a valuable role to play in enhancing the quality of life, it helps carers in their vital roles.
Music for Dementia believes that everyone living with dementia should have access to music as part of their care from diagnosis to end of life, whatever their age, social or economic status.
m4d Radio aims to provide ‘ a lifeline’ for those living with dementia by helping them connect through music and help soothe some of the often distressing symptoms of the disease, including anxiety and agitation. Support for the internet radio station comes from Lauren Laverne, Vicky McClure, Armando Iannucci OBE and former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips.
Playlist for Life harnesses the powerful effects of personal music to help anyone who is affected by dementia, their families and carers. Their website is full of free resources to help you at each stage of your playlist journey: from finding tunes to using music effectively and incorporating a playlist into a daily routine.
The Herbert Protocol
The form can be easily sent or handed to the police in the event of a loved one going missing, reducing the time to gather this information. The form should be completed as soon as possible.
The scheme is designed to help those caring for someone with dementia also to make sure in the event a person going missing the police can gain access to essential information promptly.
Claiming Financial Benefits
Caring for someone with dementia can also bring financial worries. Make sure you and the person you care for are claiming all the benefits you may be entitled to. More often, though, people start paying for home care using their income and savings because they are simply unaware of any funding assistance available to them.
Unpaid carers can claim Carer’s Allowance if they meet certain conditions.
As a carer, you may be entitled to a range of benefits, some of which will depend upon the amount of your income and the essential expenses that you have. If you care for another person, you can ask your local council to assess your needs to find out if you are eligible for support. Both you and the person you care for can get assessments. This may result in help and support being provided to you as a carer and/or to the person you are looking after.
Support could be provided by the local authority, or in the form of a direct payment or personal health budget.
You can find out more about the Carer’s Assessment on the NHS website: Carer’s assessments – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
If the person you are looking after is an adult and appears to need support, they should be offered a needs assessment by their local authority. Local authorities have a duty to assess the needs of anyone they think might need support. This is regardless of their income or financial position. Their care needs should be reviewed first, and the assessment will look at all aspects of their life which will include their physical and mental health and general wellbeing.
If at least one of these needs meet the eligibility criteria a care plan is then agreed with them on the type of care and support that would best meet those needs.
Carers UK has a factsheet that you can download and lots of other useful information on their website about Local Authority Need’s Assessments: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/needs-assessment
The Money Advice Service also has a wealth of helpful in-depth information about this subject: How a local authority care needs assessment works – Money Advice Service
Financial Assessment by the Local Authority
If you qualify for help, your local authority will carry out a financial assessment. This is called a ‘means test’. It helps to work out how much you should pay towards the cost of your care.
You will get a statement called a ‘personal budget’ that sets out the cost of the care, the amount you must pay and how much the local authority will pay.
However, this is not the only option. You can take full control of your care whilst receiving financial support from the Local Authority through a Direct Payment.
Deciding who manages your personal care budget
If you qualify for financial help, you can:
If you opt for direct payments, you can ask someone else to manage your budget and organise services for you. This could be a family member, friend, care professional or independent advocate. You’ll need to set up a trust for payments that are managed by someone else.
Receiving direct payments can give you more flexibility. You can choose who delivers the care services that you need, and when. The local authority has to be satisfied that the payments are going towards the care services agreed in your care plan. Most councils will ask for evidence of how you’ve spent your money every 3 months.
If you are already in receipt of care services, ask your local authority about direct payments.
If you are applying for care services for the first time, your social worker should discuss the direct payments option with you when they assess your care needs.
Age UK have a detailed fact sheet on personal budgets and direct payments in social care that was published in November 2020: Personal budgets and direct payments in social care (ageuk.org.uk)
Other Non-means-tested benefits
Even if you have to pay for care you may still be entitled to claim some benefits. These two benefits are not means-tested, so you could get them if your health needs are great enough regardless of your income and savings:
There are other benefits that you may also be able to claim depending on your circumstances.
Quality care at home can have a positive impact on those living with dementia. A regular routine, a familiar environment, and good company can help make your loved ones feel safe and enhance their quality of life. Home care is an opportunity for your family to be able to stay in their home for as long as possible.
That’s why it’s critical to us at Bridgewater Home Care that we offer our carers unparalleled training and guidance to understand the nuances of supporting people with dementia. We ensure that our team are equipped with the latest Alzheimer’s education and home care techniques, so that you have peace of mind that your loved one is cared for by a competent, trusted, and kind professional.
Charities and voluntary organisations provide valuable support and advice on their websites and via their helplines:
The Alzheimer’s Society has a Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456, and their Dementia Advisers can provide information and practical measures on how to stay safe, active and social. Their phone lines are open 7 days a week.
Dementia UK has lots of useful information or advice about dementia and Alzheimer’s. They provide specialist dementia support for families through their Admiral Nurse service. Admiral Nurses give families the compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions they need to face dementia with more confidence.
If someone you know has recently been diagnosed with dementia this Dementia UK next steps guide is a good starting point. They also have a number of other useful leaflets to download : Our leaflets – Dementia UK
Dementia Adventure Free Sessions
FREE online Dementia Skills Sessions – these unique sessions currently are aimed primarily at friends and family supporting a person with dementia, but they also offer an invaluable opportunity to develop professional skills, experience and practice.
If you’d like to learn more about Bridgewater Home Care’s expert and dedicated Dementia and Alzheimer’s care, please get in touch with a member of our caring team today. We will be delighted to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us on 0800 335 7888 or email email@example.com