A dementia diagnosis doesn't often come out of the blue. It's likely that someone has been noticing slight changes in their memory or ability to do things, but more often it's seen by the people around them.
For Ellen, she's been noticing changes for a few months, but when Sue saw her and Colin a couple of months ago, there wasn't really any hint of this developing just now.
The Power of Attorney Hannah has signed is the first step to getting the help she needs. I've suggested to her that we register this now, as it can then be used as much or as little as it's needed. People worry that they are suddenly going to lose control of their affairs, but one of the guiding principles of the law is that Hannah must be allowed, and indeed encouraged, to do as much for herself as she can. There isn't as much worry here for her as some people have, because her family are so close and ready to help.
What happens next is something no one is really ready for, and that's why we've got a team here who can help people with anything which might crop up.
For Hannah, we don't need to do very much just now, but we'll be able to help her over time, if perhaps she starts to need people to come to the house and help with her care. Most people want to be looked after at home for as long as possible, and our experience helps to find the best support teams for their particular situation.
At this stage it is too early to say how this might develop and what the future holds. Hannah, and her family will definitely benefit from our help though.
Make sure you have a Power of Attorney in place. This needs to be granted by you at a time that you have capacity and can understand the document. If you don't have one at the point you have lost capacity, the court process to appoint a guardian can be time consuming and expensive.
The Power of Attorney can cover financial and welfare matters. At the moment, Hannah probably only needs help with her financial and legal affairs. If she can understand medical and welfare issues, then she is the only person who can make decisions for her at this time.
If you start to lose capacity, don’t worry about asking for help. You wont lose control of your affairs. The people who help you must do so in a way that you want them to. There are safeguards in place to make sure that this is the case.
If you receive a dementia diagnosis, it doesn't mean that you will automatically end up in a home. It may be a long time before you are needing any real assistance, and in the longer term, it may be possible for you to be cared at home. What is important is that you are clear as to what you want to happen, and have spoken with your trusted family, friends and legal advisers about this.
We have a large amount of experience of the different care arrangements which are available, and it is possible to make sure that a solution for each person, to meet their individual needs, is found.