Come along to The Alzheimer’s Show on 10-11 June and gain access to highly experienced Admiral Nurses, who are specially trained in coping with dementia. Here’s what they do and how they can help…
When you’re living with dementia, talking to someone who knows what you are going through can make all the difference to your ability to cope. It can really help to speak to someone who understands the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. While friends may offer sympathy, they may not understand what you’re experiencing and won’t necessarily know how to help.
Admiral Nurses can provide a listening ear and expert advice. They were first developed in the late Eighties to help one family cope with dementia and were named after Joe Levy, who was an Admiral.
An Admiral Nurse will listen to family concerns when coping with dementia. They can provide emotional and practical support and advise families on how to cope with caring for a loved one. They can also link up families affected by dementia with services that may be able to offer additional support.
A personal connection
Many have or have had a personal connection to dementia and will completely understand the many challenges it brings. Admiral Nurses are also Registered Mental Health Nurses and have a formal knowledge of dementia.
Hilda Hayo is Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO of the charity, Dementia UK, which provides families affected by dementia with advice and information. Dementia UK has Admiral Nurses across the country and also has Admiral Nursing Direct, a national helpline staffed by Admiral Nurses.
‘When we recruit Admiral Nurses, we’re recruiting a registered nurse who has extensive experience of working with people with dementia,’ she says. ‘The nurses who work on our helpline have been working as Admiral Nurses on average for ten years. Some have a personal family experience of dementia.’
Hilda is keen to explain that a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean that the person has changed overnight. ‘Very frequently, people forget that when a person gets the diagnosis of dementia they’re still the same person as they were just before that diagnosis came through,’ Hilda says. ‘It’s about doing things gradually.’
Admiral Nurses will be on hand to speak to at The Alzheimer’s Show face to face and you’ll be able to obtain free confidential advice.
Here are Dementia UK’s tips on coping with dementia:
- Enlist support in a sensitive way – Hilda recommends introducing help into the person with dementia’s life by using a befriender through a befriending scheme. The idea of having a ‘friend’ rather than a ‘carer’ may be more positively received by the person with dementia, even if their role is broadly the same.
- Make the supporter’s role a friendly one rather than a caring one – rather than having a carer who comes in to assist with the person’s personal hygiene, enlist the help for someone to accompany the person on social outings, if this is possible.
- Work with the person’s personality – everyone with dementia is unique, and has a different personality. Taking them out to a noisy restaurant may annoy them if they don’t like noise. If they hate noise then take them somewhere quiet. Always think about what would be best for the person.
- Contact the local authorities if you’re worried about safety – if you feel that the person with dementia is unsafe at home on their own, and you can’t get them to accept help despite explaining your concerns, speak to your local social services department and voice your concerns. A decision will then be made about the appropriate care and treatment the person should receive.