Living with Dementia

Research shows there are more than 850000 people in the UK who have dementia, 1 in 14 are over the age of 65 and 1 in 6 over the age of 80.

The reality is that many people miss out on diagnosis because their symptoms are seen as signs of old age. Currently diagnosis rates are at a five-year low, which means people are living without the help and care they need. Although at the present time there is no cure for dementia, treatments are available to help manage the condition.

Being diagnosed with dementia will have a big impact on you and your life. It can impact your emotions and the people around you, however others may feel relief because they can now understand what’s happening. You are still you, even though you may have problems with your memory or concentrating on certain tasks.

You and your family may worry about how long you can look after yourself, particularly if you live alone, but dementia is a progressive condition, and everyone experiences dementia differently. The rate at which symptoms become worse varies from person to person, but with the right support when you need it, many people live independently for several years. Once again, you are still you and it is important to focus on things you enjoy and can still do.

If you are diagnosed with dementia your local authority has a duty to do a care and support needs assessment which is free. Contact your local social services or a doctor who can make a referral.

Following a diagnosis of dementia you should arrange a care plan. Your plan can cover the care you would like in the later stages of dementia, or you can have someone make these decisions for you if that’s what you would prefer. This is called a Lasting Power of Attorney where you can formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to act on your behalf.

There are many resources to help with dementia charities such as Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia UK provide a range of services including help lines, support groups and home care.

Hayley Wintrup is a caseworker in the private client team at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Suffolk.

For more information on our range of legal services including elderly client care, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email