Ask the expert: Dementia Advisor Service
We talk to Miriam Smith, from Hampshire County Council’s Adult Services department, who has been involved in commissioning our new council-funded Dementia Advisor Service.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a term used to describe a set of symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and mood changes that accompany other conditions that affect the brain.
The most common of these are Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia which may occur after a stroke or if there has been damage to the blood vessels carrying blood to the brain. Dementia is progressive but how quickly it progresses depends on the person and their type of dementia.
How many people are affected in Hampshire?
There are approximately 19,000 people living with dementia in Hampshire. This number is expected to rise to about 25,000 by 2021. Whilst it is more prevalent in older people it also affects younger people. Early diagnosis is very important in supporting people to live well with dementia so they can remain active and healthy and plan for their future.
What help is available to support people with dementia?
There are many types of help available to people diagnosed with dementia and their carers. Drug therapies are helpful to some people, but having information, support and signposting to the right services at the right time is vital. That is why the County Council is funding a Dementia Advisor Service available across the whole of Hampshire.
If you are a carer or have dementia yourself an advisor can arrange to see you at a place and time convenient to you and will provide you with a tailor made package of information specific to your needs. This could include information on finances and legal matters as well as practical and emotional coping strategies.
How do people access the service?
The service is provided by The Alzheimer’s Society in Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Petersfield, Bordon and the New Forest, and by Andover Mind in Eastleigh, Test Valley and Romsey, Basingstoke and Deane, Alton, Hart and Rushmoor and Winchester.
You may be referred to the service by your GP or Memory Service but you can also refer yourself if you are a carer of someone with dementia or if you have dementia yourself.