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Dementia UK bolsters support for families ahead of anticipated rise in Helpline contacts

by Kirsty Kirsty

The ‘I live with dementia’ campaign has been launched in a typically busy month for the charity, helping to support those impacted by dementia

A specialist dementia nursing charity has launched the ‘I live with dementia’ campaign to support people affected by the condition in one of the charity’s busiest months of the year. Dementia UK’s Helpline, staffed by dementia specialist Admiral Nurses, saw a 17 per cent spike in calls, emails and appointments between December 2021 and January 2022[1] as families reached out for advice and support following the Christmas period.

With data also showing that January was the Helpline’s second busiest month of 2021, Dementia UK is calling on the public to download its free ‘Living with dementia’ guide which contains vital practical and emotional advice, life hacks, information and top tips. The charity’s specialist dementia nurses, people living with dementia and their families and friends have shared their expertise on a number of topics including diagnosis, coping with behavioural change, family dynamics and finding care options.

A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t just impact the person with the diagnosis – everyone around them, from family members to friends, is affected in some way. Data from Dementia UK’s Helpline in 2022 revealed that almost two fifths (38 per cent) of calls, emails and other contacts were from individuals seeking advice on accessing support for dementia. A further 36 per cent of contacts were from people seeking advice on understanding dementia or getting a diagnosis for the condition.

Dementia is a huge and growing health crisis – there are an estimated 944,000 people living with dementia, set to rise to more than 1 million people by 2025 and the condition is currently the leading cause of death in the UK.

Dementia UK will also be raising awareness of its free Helpline and virtual clinics through a nationwide advertising campaign between January and March 2023. The campaign has been designed to focus on parts of the country where there is a demand for more support for people with dementia, and encourages people to reach out to Dementia UK’s Helpline, virtual clinics and its team of over 400 specialist dementia nurses.

Dr Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO at Dementia UK, said:

“If you love someone living with dementia, you’re living with it too, and we understand the challenges that individuals and families face every day. We’re launching this campaign as we know people often reach out to the dementia specialist nurses on our Helpline and clinics after Christmas. In January 2022, we saw a 17 per cent increase in contacts on the previous month.

“We want to let families living with dementia know that they are not alone. The ‘Living with dementia’ guide contains practical and emotional support, and is an extension of the fantastic work carried out by Admiral Nurses on our Helpline, clinics and online resources.”

37-year-old Liz who lives in Brighton, is supporting the campaign as her grandad Sam, who is 100-years-old and lives in a care home has Alzheimer’s disease. When Sam was living at home, he would become distressed around dusk. Sam was experiencing sundowning – a term used for changes in behaviour that occur in the evening and can lead to agitation or anxiety over time. Liz didn’t know what was happening or how to help until she heard about Dementia UK’s Helpline.

Liz said: “When I heard about the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, it was like a beacon of hope. Living with dementia is a terribly lonely and isolating experience. Before I phoned Dementia UK’s Helpline, our family had been totally lost and unable to understand how best to help my grandad. Within minutes of speaking to an Admiral Nurse, I felt a wave of relief come over me – it was great to speak to someone with the knowledge and experience to help us.

“I would urge people to download the ‘Living with dementia’ guide and use the great tips within it. It can be scary taking that first step but this expert advice can help you provide the best possible care for a loved one and help them live well with dementia.”

Download the ‘Living with dementia’ guide at www.dementiauk.org/together.

If you need advice or support on living with dementia contact Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email helpline@dementiauk.org.

The Helpline is staffed by experienced Admiral Nurses, who give vital support by telephone or email. Alternatively, you can book a free video or phone appointment at a time that suits you to get expert dementia support from an Admiral Nurse. Find out more at dementiauk.org/book-an-appointment.   

[1] Data taken from Dementia UK’s Helpline between December 2021 – end of October 2022

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