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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease the same thing?

Dementia is the umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms that people with various brain disorders might have with their memory, language and thinking. Alzheimer's disease is the best known of these brain disorders and the most common cause of dementia. Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia. Alzheimer's disease affects almost 500,000 of them. There are around 200 types of dementia so being told you have dementia does not automatically mean you have Alzheimer's. For example, you may have another form of dementia such as vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. Or you may have a mixture of several forms of dementia.

How quickly does dementia progress?

For some people, dementia progresses rapidly, while it takes years to reach an advanced stage for others. The progression of dementia depends greatly on the underlying cause of the dementia. While people will experience the stages of dementia differently, most people with dementia share some of the symptoms.

Do I have to stop driving?

Being diagnosed with dementia doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to stop driving straight away, although you will need to stop eventually. According to Alzheimer's Society, most people with dementia tend to stop driving within three years of being diagnosed. However, you should inform the DVLA of the diagnosis.

Will I be entitled to claim any benefits?

Dementia can create financial worries. As a carer or the person with dementia you may no longer be able to work. Plus you may need to pay for additional care services or specialist products to aid and support you. Below is a list of benefits that you may be entitled to as a carer, or if you have been diagnosed with dementia. Approach’s Dementia Advisors can help you to claim some of these benefits: Attendance Allowance; Carer’s Allowance; Carer’s Credit; Council Tax Reduction; Direct payments; Disability Premium; Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

What is Lasting Power of Attorney?

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): Property and financial affairs LPA This gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property, including managing bank or building society accounts, paying bills, collecting a pension or benefits and, if necessary, selling your home. Once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, it can be used immediately, or held in readiness until required. Health and welfare LPA This gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your daily routine (washing, dressing, eating), medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining medical treatment. It can only be used if you are unable to make your own decisions. For more information on LPA please contact the Approach Dementia Advice Service

Who can help me with questions about dementia?

The Approach Dementia Advisor Service is a free, confidential service providing support and advice to anyone diagnosed with dementia, and their carers, across North Staffordshire and the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The service provides an essential contact point for individuals and, as well as providing information, advisors refer people on to other services and help them navigate the range of support available. Dementia Advisors provide support by phone or through visiting people in their own homes or other convenient locations.

Are there any support groups or social groups in my area?

Approach provides a number of services to support people with dementia such as day opportunities and my day my way; additionally carers can attend one of Approach’s Carers Cafes. The cafes operate throughout Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire and provide an informal and enjoyable environment where carers and the people they support can meet with each other, and with professionals who can support them.

If I need support in the home, who will help me?

Approach can provide information and signpost to local care agencies who provide support with shopping, cleaning, personal care, diet, medication sitting/companionship services.

If I need residential care, how will I find the right home?

Approach can provide information on the homes in your area, including CQC reports and eligibility criteria. They can discuss funding options and support you to apply for appropriate support.

How can I support the person I am caring for to maintain their independence?

  • Do activities with, rather than for the person
  • Maintain familiar routines
  • Break activities into small manageable chunks
  • Give uncomplicated verbal prompts, one at a time
  • Gain attention by saying their name first
  • Repeat instructions or try saying them in a different way
  • Give the person time to think and process information
  • Focus on what the person can do
  • Try memory aids such as written/pictorial prompts, clocks and calendars
  • Explore assistive technology options
  • Be mindful of the PERSON and their individuality


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