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#askRL – I think my Grandma has dementia; how can I help her as she’s struggling to manage?

15.09.16

Question:

I think my Grandma has dementia; how can I help her as she’s struggling to manage?

Answer:

We’re sorry to hear your Grandma isn’t managing. We can obviously advise you on the legal plans that can be put in place to assist your Grandma, these are set out below. However, from our experience of working with older people and their families, there are other practical ways you can support your Grandma and we’ve included some useful tips that might assist you.

  • It is important that your Grandma sees her GP to investigate her symptoms.  GP appointments can often be confusing and there is a lot of information to take in, so going along to these with your Grandma would ensure she gets as much help as possible;
  • The GP may undertake their own tests but will also refer your Grandma, if necessary, to other health services such as a memory clinic or dementia specialist;
  • You should make contact with social services to arrange a care assessment. They will assess your Grandma’s care needs and set out a plan to meet any requirements your Grandma may have.  If she is still living in her own home this may lead to, for example, carers visiting her at home on a regular basis and/or adaptations to your Grandma’s home to help her manage;
  • Get in touch with the Department for Work and Pensions (it may have to be your Grandma who makes the call) to arrange for you or another person your Grandma trusts to become her appointee to deal with her benefits. You should also check the type and amount of benefits and pension that your Grandma is receiving, to ensure she is receiving everything she is entitled too;
  • If your Grandma has not made a Property & Financial Affairs or Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) she should consider doing so. As long as your Grandma has the necessary mental capacity she can complete these legal documents, naming people she trusts (the attorneys) to assist her in managing her financial matters and, if she were to lose mental capacity, to make decisions about health and welfare matters on her behalf;
  • If your Grandma no longer has the necessary mental capacity to manage her finances, she will not be able to make an LPA. However, you or another person could make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This Order gives the deputy permission to manage your Grandma’s finances;
  • It may also be a good idea to take a look at local day centres in your area for your Grandma (if she is still in her own home) to visit on a regularly basis, especially if she is feeling lonely at home. This may help to increase her social circle and boost her confidence;
  • Also, spending time with your Grandma looking at photos and talking about your family history, doing puzzles or crosswords will assist with her confidence and help towards your Grandma retaining her identity as long as possible;
  • Visiting regularly and taking a look at what is in the cupboards; eating or drinking too little can also cause confusion.

There are other things that you can do to assist your Grandma at this time and in the future and we recommend this link to the Alzheimer’s Society website for additional helpful information. For more information about putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney or applying for a Deputyship Order please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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