Preparing for loss of mobility
Many people with dementia will gradually become less able to move about unaided and may stumble and struggle with everyday tasks. It may be that the person you care for already has poor mobility, which is made more challenging due to the dementia. In the later stages of dementia some people may eventually be unable to walk or adjust their position without support.
It is important to get information, advice and practical training in assisting someone who has poor mobility. It is key that you do not physically hurt yourself while helping someone else. Decreased mobility can also have a negative effect on the mental wellbeing of both you and the person you care for so try and keep the person with dementia and yourself as active as possible.
There are some straightforward measures that you can put in place to help with mobility and they have no, or very little cost. For example, removing trip hazards, ensuring the house is well lit, and generally making the home more dementia friendly is a good place to start.
If mobility is becoming a concern contact your GP and ask for a referral to an occupational therapist. They will be able to recommend and organise equipment that can help. The earlier you have the right information the less likely it is that an accident or injury will occur. It will also mean you have longer to plan for necessary adjustments in the home or travel arrangements. It will then be easier for the person with dementia to become accustomed to them. See adapting your home on Age UK or our pages on equipment, adaptions and telecare.
Find out about local accessible transport schemes and community transport. There are reductions or free access to public transport for people with disabilities in most areas of the country. This can include bus and train passes, taxi vouchers and hospital transport. Contact your local council for more information. People with disabilities can also apply to the Blue Badge Scheme.
Advice and training for carers in lifting and handling
Being able to safely move and transfer the person you care for is is key to ensuring you don’t injure yourself or the person they care for. Getting advice and training in good time, to keep yourself well. A number of carers services offer training for carers which will often include a session on moving and handling as well as general back care. If these sessions are not available or you are finding it difficult to access them, having a carer’s assessment could help. Alternatively, ask your GP for a referral to an occupational therapist, they will be able to give advice on equipment and safe moving and lifting techniques.
Advice on equipment and adaptations
There is a growing selection of equipment which can be used inside and outside the home, to make life easier for yourself and the person you care for. Smaller pieces of safety equipment such as door alarms, and gas and water safety devices can be inexpensive and can help alleviate some or your worries. Most local fire services now carry out free home fire safety checks, and install smoke detectors if necessary.
Equipment and adaptations can vary in cost. As your local council for an assessment and they will be able to advise you and may even cover the cost of some of the equipment.
Grants for large adaptations such as wet rooms, lifts or ramps are commonly known as Disabled Facilities Grants and can be applied for through the local council. You do not necessarily need to own your own home to be eligible. There are also a number of local and UK charities which can give financial assistance, you can find this information at your local library, carers service or from Turn2us. Also see grants and discounts.
Next in the Carers Road Map guide: When the person with dementia has other health issues