Monthly Archives: May 2015

Getting to grips with some legal questions…

A diagnosis of dementia inevitably raises questions about your future care needs, and how these can best be met. The legal systems that must be negotiated can feel like a real obstacle course, so the need for clear, straightforward information is obvious, yet not always easy to find.

Having provided advice to many families trying to work through this difficult process, Laker Legal Solicitors decided to create a no-nonsense  guide which provides an easy to understand breakdown of the legal and financial implications around the choices people with dementia and their families may need to make as their dementia progresses over time. We're pleased to be able to share their guide with you here.

Dementia Open days at Great Western Hospital

Find out more about dementia with the Great Western Hospital

Image- Swindon hospital

To do their bit for Dementia Awareness Week, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is  welcoming people in to find out more about dementia.

On Monday May 18 and Tuesday 19 May, experts from the Trust will be available in the Main Atrium to answer your questions about dementia and share details of some of the hospital’s dementia services.

Carers of people living with dementia are invited to come along and find out what support is available to them from the many dementia support groups that work across Swindon and Wiltshire.

On Tuesday 19 May and Thursday 21 May  information stands will also be on display to help people find out about the work of the Trust’s Palliative Care team, who have recently made changes to their end-of-life care programme, as well as the new Outpatient Welcome and Liaison Service (OWLS), which helps people with dementia find their way around hospital when attending appointments.

Sarah White, Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical Lead for Dementia, explained to the Wiltshire Times: “Dementia Awareness Week is an important fixture in our calendar as it provides us with the opportunity to increase the public’s understanding of this condition and to remind people that there’s always more to a person than just their dementia.”

“There has been a great deal of work within the Trust over the last 12 months to improve the services and care we provide to patients with dementia. By continuing to raise awareness and understanding, more people are able to receive a timely diagnosis which allows them to plan for their future.”

Visitors will be able to learn about the Trust’s new dementia friendly ward, Jupiter, which opened in November 2014 following a £98,000 renovation project, funded by the Trust’s charity Brighter Futures.
The Jupiter Ward team will be on hand to discuss the recent changes, as well as showcasing some of the tools they use every day, such as the This Is Me passport, which gives staff an overview of a patient’s likes, dislikes and usual routine, resulting in more personalised care.

Wendy Johnson, Matron for Older Person’s Care, said: “The changes made to Jupiter are having a real impact on patients, with fewer now suffering from falls thanks in part to the ward’s new non-shiny floor. This ultimately helps people to recover quickly, meaning less time is spent in hospital.”

Stay up-to-date with all the latest from the week and to get in touch with the Trust’s Dementia Care team on Twitter at

Will you do something new for Dementia Awareness Week? 17-24 May

Image- #do something new

Did you know it’s Dementia Awareness Week
on 17- 24th May?

The event is organised each year by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise the public profile of those affected by  dementia and of course do plenty of much needed fund-raising.

The theme this year is #Do Something New!

At Alzheimer’s Society, we believe that life doesn’t end when dementia begins, and we do everything we can to help people living with dementia hold onto their lives and the things they love for longer.


We also believe it’s possible to do new things and have new experiences, too. And that’s what this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is all about.”

So we are all being set a challenge…
‘Can you ‘do something new’?

It could be something as simple as trying a new food you’ve never eaten before to fulfilling a lifelong ambition, like running a marathon!! If you need a few ideas, click here for the society’s list of suggestions but remember the sky’s the limit!

And do take a look at the website where they share the #Do Something New stories of 3 of their supporters who haven’t let dementia get in the way of following their dreams and finding fulfilment. Ken, Margaret and Ian’s stories are truly inspirational so take a peep!

Feeling inspired?

Great! Be sure to have fun…and don’t be afraid to share ‘your something new’ on social media using the hashtags #DoSomethingNew and #DAW2015. You might just inspire a few others!

Click here for further details of
Dementia Awareness Week 2015

Does a diagnosis of dementia mean an immediate end to driving?

Senior woman driving a car slowly in highway

“Do I have to stop driving?”
is a frequently asked question when people first receive a diagnosis of dementia

Although driving may feel like an automatic activity to experienced motorists, it actually requires complex interactions between eyes, brain and muscles, along with rapid reaction responses to deal with unexpected circumstances. As dementia takes hold, the skills needed for driving will inevitably be impeded and, at some point, the decision will have to be made to stop driving.

The timing of this decision will be different for each individual, and if diagnosis is made early, it needn’t necessarily be at the point of diagnosis. Some drivers continue driving safely for several years after dementia has first been confirmed.

What is essential, immediately after diagnosis, is that you inform both the DVLA and your insurance company of the diagnosis – not to do so is a criminal offence and will invalidate your insurance policy leaving you uninsured.

After that, it’s a question of judging whether safety is compromised. Your GP will be able to offer advice and a special driving assessment which aims to assess the impact the dementia is having on the safety and performance of the driver may be required.

Hard as it may be to accept, the following list
provides the warning signs that it’s time to stop driving:

  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places
  • Failing to observe traffic signs
  • Making slow or poor decisions in traffic
  • Driving at an inappropriate speed
  • Becoming angry or confused while driving
  • Hitting curbs
  • Using poor lane control
  • Making errors at junctions
  • Confusing the brake and gas pedals
  • Returning from a routine drive later than usual
  • Forgetting the destination you are driving to during the trip

Recognising these signs, some drivers quickly begin to find driving stressful and make the decision to stop relatively easily. All too often however, people with dementia tend to underestimate the impact the disease is having on their driving ability, and become angry and resentful when it is suggested they give up driving. Some even simply forget that the DVLA has ruled they must stop.

In these cases, it’s likely to fall on friends and family members to step in and take control.

Forward planning really  helps so that other transport options (such as taxis, shop-mobility, and local community transport schemes) can be explored before giving up driving entirely.

What’s important is that  loss of driving doesn’t feel like a loss of independence.
Support, patience and understanding will all be needed, but an end to driving should not feel like the end of the road.