Dementia

Fake Sheikh

War Hero
My Mum has been diagnosed with the start of Dementia, she is being assessed in March.
Any advice or things we can do in a cognitive way to help her.

It is starting to impact of daily tasks and is robbing her of parts of her life, giving up driving was a major hurdle.

I just don't know what to do to help so hoping those on arrse might be able to point me towards advice.

Many thanks in advance.
 

ancient

War Hero
I started a thread on this some years back that is still active. Under "Old and Bold" ; Alzheimers; A right bastard. There's a ton of stuff, advice, contacts, personal problems aired.

You're in for a rough ride mate. Good luck with it.
 

4(T)

LE
I think the main thing at this (hopefully early) stage is to have a family discourse about the future, especially whilst your mum is still able to rationalise the likely course of events and express her wishes.

Its very worthwhile getting mum and family on board right now with precautionary legal aspects - e.g. Lasting Power of Attorney (financial and medical), making bank accounts in joint names, perhaps clarifying matters of estate planning. Clearing the decks now can save a huge chunk of stress and inconvenience later.

The above-mentioned thread has a lot of experience in it.
 
FS sorry to hear the news, like others have said pop over to the other one some great advice about POA, what to expect etc there
 
Wot he said. Dealing with one parent who has obvious dementia and the caring parent who has also dementia but thinks they don't and who made some poor decisions against advice which we now have to work around. This includes daily care routines which have wholly undermined the cognitive function of the more affected parent

To preserve short term memory function as long a possible:
-Give time for response.
-Listen and do not complete sentences
-Allow choices over small things and be patient
-Keep them doing small daily tasks, even if supervised
-Puzzles, card games, matching games have an social and cognitive benefit - get the pattern in early


Managing decline:
-be prepared to note the being overwhelmed 'tell' and step in gently to avoid panic
-Preserve dignity but be prepared to step in and be respectfully firm - or authoritative at points of danger
- Be aware of sundowning Sundowning (changes in behaviour at dusk) - Dementia UK
- Look at and visit prospective care homes in advance to ensure your mum is involved in choice - this helps.
- Self funding places are - counterintuitively - harder to come by than state assisted ones
- Place a large black matt in front of the front and back door at night - this will be assumed to be a large hole and discourages approaching doors.
- Plug in nightlights will become your friend
- Don't rearrange furniture if it can be avoided
- Photo albums and family history provides discussion as long term memory is less affected
- Nutrition is vital - many forget to eat, which is a common symptom and has a big knockon with cognitive function. Apeptitite is low and large meals off-putting so encourage regular grazing habits; a lot of food can be put away with regular snacking. Visual tricking helps too - a sandwich cut two is 'too much' so only half will be eaten - but cut into three fingers, leaving one part = 2/3 eaten. Large plates make portions look smaller.
- Hydration is critical - older peopel dehydrate to confusion levels very quickly. It also guards against UTIs which are not easily spotted in older people (different symptoms) and lead to unusual behaviour /changes in mood and behaviour (often challenging) . Reversible if diagnosis and antibiotics given.
- The pill box will become a warzone - incorrectly taken medication can cause huge problems. ''Assist'' early.


Finance:
- Attendance allowance forms: assistance availble to those at home / in care home self funders 32 [pages get advice on how to fill it in Information and advice for older people and their loved ones | Age UK Get it done early. Can be filled in online but takes a while to be processed. your mum cannot drive, this covers carer bus costs, taxis etc.
- and register early for a financial asssessment to avoid delay at point of need
- Current state assessment threshold is £23,500 personal savings; be aware any money above that mustn't be used in a way that is redirecting potential care funding away from the system (large family money gifts etc). Funeral plans are a good idea here.

Legal
- You are right in planning ahead.
- Discuss resuscitation choices now. It's a necessarily brutal procedure and often fails to work for much younger, fitter people. There is now a form available through your GP where we can all make our choices known and they are held against your own central medical records.
- It used to be that dementia was regarded as a fixed thing - once registered , then the person could take no decisions. Capability was defined by your GP. HOWEVER GPs won't do that anymore as people do have lucid patches. Assessment on capability to make a desicison is now based on the person's ability to understand and explain back the decision they are making, at the time it is made. With all the precautions that that should entail.
- Money spent on a solicitor for a will is not wasted. Some willwriting services may be very good - but only if ti is the simplest of wills. There are many charity schemes now where you can make a will either for a reasonable donation(£40 is derisory btw unless you are genuinely in crisis - money management price suggestions are not always up to date if you are calulating a resonable donation) The charity Will writing scheme | Will Aid OR the charity will pay, in the hope of a small donation from the estate. Free Will Service .
-This is as much about making your relative feel that they are still functioning as about safeguarding assets.
 
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