Sources of support for families

People affected by dementia do not need to be alone.

Whether you have a dementia diagnosis, or care for someone who has one, there are local services that can support you practically and emotionally.

Where do I start?

Your GP should be able to organise an assessment of the person with dementia and their family’s needs. Everyone is entitled to this. Depending where you live, it might be called a ‘community care assessment’, ‘care assessment’ or a ‘needs assessment’.

To arrange one yourself, contact your local council, authority or Health and Social Services Trust. If you live in England, call your local authority and ask to be put through to the social services office. If you live in Scotland, call your local council and ask for the social work department. If you live in Northern Ireland, contact your local Health and Social Services Trust.

Following the assessment, your local council will let you know what services it has to meet your needs and whether they will charge you for accessing them or not.

What support is there?

A good package of care is different for everyone as it depends on what the person with dementia and their family need.

  • Find out if your local area has an Admiral Nurse. They’re our specialist dementia nurses who can support your whole family, from diagnosis to end of life.
  • Access to good, clear information is vital. Download our information sheet to find out sources of reliable information.
  • You can manage your own care, or that of the person with dementia who you support, through a personal health budget. This is money allocated to you as a result of an assessment of your needs.
  • Local support groups might be run by charities, e.g. Age UK or Alzheimer’s Society, and could include everything from carers meetings to Dementia Cafés.  You can search for local services through an online database called Dementia Connect.
  • There are various psychological interventions for dementia, which your GP can refer you to. These include cognitive stimulation therapy, which involves taking part in activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language.
  • Someone with dementia can access day centres and hospitals, through social services and after having their needs assessment. This can provide company and activities for people with dementia and a break for carers.
  • If you prefer, you can have care at home, getting help with everything from bathing to shopping. You can arrange this through your council, privately, or directly with a homecare agency.
  • Flexible short term breaks are vital for the person with dementia and their carer. These can be organised by social services through a carer’s needs assessment.
  • You can check what benefits you are entitled to online using the UK government’s Benefits Calculator

Who can I contact if I have questions about what support is available? 

Dementia UK runs a national helpline and email service, called the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, for family and professional carers, people with dementia and those worried about their memory. It is the only nurse-led dementia helpline in the country.

Our nurses are ready and waiting to answer your questions about what support is available for people with dementia.

Please call 0800 888 6678 from 9am to 9pm from Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm during the weekend.

Send an email to helpline@dementiauk.org.