By dementia specialist Admiral Nurse Joe Costello.
Tell us a bit about your role at Dementia UK
My name is Joe Costello and I’m a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse. I work in Dementia UK’s Closer to Home virtual clinics, where people affected by dementia can book appointments by phone or video call for tailored support and advice. Before that, I worked as an Admiral Nurse in the community for four and a half years.
What barriers do you think men have in seeking a dementia diagnosis?
I think some men struggle to open up to their family and friends and deny that they are experiencing any memory problems or cognitive impairment. They may worry about how a diagnosis will impact their life.
Dementia can also cause problems in communication which can lead to withdrawal from family, friends and social networks.
Some men may not be used to visiting the GP and so it might be an unfamiliar – and sometimes daunting – experience.
What are the main barriers men have in accessing support as a carer?
Over 70% of callers to our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline are female, but with rising cases of dementia and the condition still being so stigmatised, it’s important that we open up conversations so that male carers feel able to seek support.
Asking for help may feel difficult for some men.
Some men may have a more practical and pragmatic approach and see caring as their duty – but if they don’t recognise themselves as a carer, it can have implications on accessing support.
Accepting their role as a carer is the trigger to being offered services like respite, which gives them more time to do activities which are meaningful to them.
What would your advice be to male carers around accessing support?
Early intervention is key, just so people have the opportunity to talk through how changing relationships can affect them.
It’s also about establishing the different connections that people have to each other. One person may be the primary carer, but there are often other family members and friends who can get involved in support at home and other activities. As dementia specialists, we can uncover what each family member can provide to support the person, and equally each other.
Dementia is complex, so it’s important to receive expert advice and support on the condition and how to manage it. It’s ok to ask for help and it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.
How we can support you
Whether you have a question that needs an immediate answer or need emotional support when life feels overwhelming, these are the ways our dementia specialist Admiral Nurses can support you