Dementia is a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, as well as changes in mood or behaviour.
These symptoms may not be very obvious to begin with, but over time can become harder to manage.
Dementia symptoms are often caused by Alzheimer’s disease or brain damage caused by a stroke. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.
Reconnect is a support service for people experiencing memory loss and dementia. It is managed by Rethink. This service is totally free.
Part of the role of Reconnect is to offer you individual support to help you find ways of keeping your independence, despite memory problems. They know the challenges memory loss brings. They have a track record in helping people overcome those challenges.
A Reconnect worker assigned to you will visit you regularly – this person can help you to
- manage housing related issues for up to 2 years
- advise you around practical steps to keeping your home safe
Referrals can be made by anyone but they must have the permission of the person being referred.
Phone – 01823 256832
Email – Reconnect@rethink.org
Talking therapies might include counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy – sometimes known as CBT. It can be a useful way for people living with dementia to get support and to make sense of living with their condition.
Many people living with dementia struggle with their diagnosis and how their life is changing. They may feel lost, confused, vulnerable or anxious. Anxiety over what the future might hold is very common. This anxiety may start during the assessment process before you get a formal diagnosis.
Counselling can play a very important role in helping people with an early diagnosis of dementia – for example, by reducing feelings of depression. Professionals will usually offer counselling at an early stage to support people through this often difficult and uncertain time.
Finding talking therapies in your area
Your GP is a good place to start if you are looking for a therapist.
Talking therapies through the NHS are usually free. Therapies for depression and anxiety are now available through an NHS programme called Talking Therapies.
Your doctor can refer you to a local Talking Therapies service, where you will be assessed and offered support. This could include signposting to relevant activities, self-help materials or psychological therapies. You can also refer yourself for a talking therapy in Somerset.
GPs can often provide details of other local therapists and some GP surgeries have talking therapy services in their practices. While more talking therapies are becoming available, you may still find that there is a wait before you are seen.
Your GP or local social care department may also have information about local charities that can offer services – the phone number of your local social services department will be in the phone book.
Another choice is to find a private therapist. A recommendation from someone you trust – or possibly your GP – can be very helpful. Most private services have a sliding scale for fees.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can provide more information about local counselling and psychotherapy services.
To find an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist, contact the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.
To find a clinical psychologist or counselling psychologist, contact the British Psychological Society.
There are some alternative therapies which might benefit people living with dementia and their carers. They work by treating some of the conditions related to dementia, for example, sleep problems or agitation.
There is not yet a drug to cure dementia, but there are some drug treatments that can help to relieve some of the symptoms or slow their progression.