Dementia

1. What is dementia?

Dementia is a collective term for symptoms which include:

  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulties with understanding things
  • Communication difficulties
  • Reduced judgement and reasoning
  • Reduction in skills and abilities needed to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing and cooking

These symptoms worsen over time, although the rate of progression differs with each person – as do the symptoms.

Find out more about dementia on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

2. Support in East Sussex

Visit your GP

If you are worried about your memory your first port of call should be your local GP. Your GP may do some basic tests with you and as a result could refer you to the memory assessment service.

Memory Assessment Service

This service provides:

  • a memory assessment
  • a diagnosis
  • an ongoing care management plan for your GP
  • referral back to your GP for continuing care
  • up-to-date information for you and your carer about support and services available in your local area
  • a named personal contact to support you throughout your journey with dementia.

Support after diagnosis

The support service covering East Sussex is the Dementia Support Service. This offers information, advice and support tailored to meet your needs. They will work with you to develop a plan that reflects your health and well-being needs. This may also include a financial health check.

The contact number for the service is:

Tel: 0345 60 80 191
Email: HSCC@eastsussex.gov.uk

Once the referral has been made, a member of the team will make contact with you to arrange a visit.

3. Caring for someone with dementia

Carers can be offered a referral for a carer’s assessment by the Memory Assessment Service.

If you are a carer for somebody who has, or you think may have, dementia, please see our carer’s section for help, practical support and advice:

When you’re caring for someone with dementia, it can be all too easy to ignore your own needs and to forget that you matter too:

4. Living well with dementia

We have produced some leaflets offering practical solutions to help you to live well with dementia:

Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends is a national initiative being led by the Alzheimer’s Society to provide people with the skills and understanding to support people with dementia and help us develop truly dementia-friendly communities.

Video – how older people want to be cared for

Watch the video

5. Planning for the future

Knowing what to expect can help everyone to prepare.

For details about symptoms in the later stages, tips to help minimise discomfort and distress, health risks, treatment and care, see:

Advance statements and Power of Attorney

The individual’s quality of end of life can be enhanced if their values, wishes and preferences are known to those involved in their care. This is called an advance statement.

In addition to making an advance decision to refuse treatment, the person with dementia may also wish to consider putting in place a lasting power of attorney. This appoints someone to make decisions about their treatment and care on their behalf when they lack the mental capacity to do this for themselves.