If I think I, or a family member, has dementia, who do I contact?
If you feel you may have dementia, it is important to contact your GP and talk about the difficulties that you are experiencing. The GP may carry out some tests to assess your memory.
If the GP feels it is necessary she/he may refer you to your local memory clinic. At the memory clinic, you may have some scans of your brain taken and more cognitive tests carried out.
After diagnosis – what support is available to me or my loved one?
If you are diagnosed with dementia it is likely you will have been introduced to a Dementia Navigator who will be an excellent guide in helping you to gain support and access services.
There are so many organisations available to help support you on your journey; some of these include:
These services vary across Northern Ireland so it is best to seek out some information in your local area.
Dementia Connect may assist you to find services/support in your local area:
Other organisations who may be able to help you or your loved one include:
- Tax & Benefits - Advice NI 0800 988 2377
- Citizen’s Advice Bureau
- Disability Action 028 9029 7880
- Carers NI 028 9043 9843
- NI Hospice 028 9078 1836
- Action on Elder Abuse 080 8808 8141
- Samaritans 028 90 664422
- Lifeline 0808 808 8000
Who can become a member?
Anyone who has a diagnosis of dementia can become a member of Dementia NI. Membership is not available to family members and carers.
What is an empowerment group?
Dementia NI empowerment groups are small groups of members, who all have a diagnosis of dementia. The groups are facilitated by a paid member of staff, who supports the organisation of the meeting and is your main point of contact in Dementia NI.
The meeting last for 2 hours, in a dementia-friendly venue. Light refreshments are served as well.
The meetings can be structured, usually with updates on some of our campaigns and projects. There may also be requests for members to take part in an external talk or awareness raising event.
We invite guest speakers to come along to consult with members in the group. These guests may be from another charity, the local health trust, a care provider – really anyone who wishes to hear about your experiences and learn how to make life easier for all people with dementia.
I am a carer. Can I attend an empowerment meeting?
No. Empowerment meetings are only for people who have a diagnosis of dementia, as this is a bit of time for them to speak to others about their experiences and an opportunity for peer support. If your loved one is attending a meeting, it is also an opportunity for you to take some time for yourself as well!
For the first meeting, we invite the carer to come along for a short time to meet the group and staff members. We understand that coming to a new group can be daunting and your loved one may need that initial support.
We also understand that just because your loved one is attending meetings, does not mean that you will be left out! There are opportunities for both you and your loved one to attend events, conferences and social activities together. We will also signpost you to other organisations for appropriate advice and support if you need it.
I don’t like group meetings. Can I still become a member of Dementia NI? What else would I do?
We understand that group meetings aren’t for everyone. We welcome everyone who has a diagnosis of dementia to become a member. Other ways you can become involved include:
- You can still inform others about your experience by speaking to our staff
- You may wish to do an interview for your local paper
- You could talk to students at one of the universities about your experience of living with dementia
- You can come along to one of our awareness-raising events, such as your local supermarket
- Attend a dementia-friendly community meeting in your local area
Empowerment meetings are only a small part of what we do - there are so many ways to become involved and raise awareness.
All members are entitled to elect the Board of Directors in the annual AGM, but this can be done by proxy if you are unable to attend the meeting.
I am a carer. What support and advice can you offer me?
Unfortunately Dementia NI is unable to offer advice but we are more than happy to signpost you in the right direction to help answer any queries you may have. We also currently do not directly support carers and family members. If you need some advice, please contact:
Alzheimer’s Society Helpline 0300 222 11 22
The Alzheimer’s Society also offers a Dementia Support Service in your area
I am not happy with my, or my loved one’s, care services
If you have a concern about your care or about someone who is in care or receiving care services in their home, please follow the guidelines given by the Patient and Client Council:
Patient and Client Council 0800 917 0222