4. Your support
As your dementia progresses you will need more support to be able to live well. In this section we talk about how to get the help you need.
It is important to have a good support network around you when you have dementia. This could include people who can help you with the day-to-day things you find difficult, like shopping or cooking, or people you can talk to about what you’re going through.
As an LGBT person you may look to different people or groups for support. Some of the following may be true for you:
- You may get a lot of support from within the LGBT community.
- You may have what is called a ‘family of choice’ instead of a biological family.
- You may no longer be in touch with, or have a complicated relationship with, your biological family.
- You may not have disclosed your sexual orientation or gender identity to your family, or even some of your friends.
- You may not have children to support you.
- You may have more support from people your own age, rather than people of a different generation to you.
- You may be single, or living alone.
How people can help: practical tips
Whatever your social group and whatever support you have, it is important to get the help you need. You should try to make the most of whatever help those close to you can provide, and know where to get the support that’s available. The following tips may help.
- Talk to those close to you about how they can help you and what they can do for you – for example, helping you out with shopping or tasks around the house. You may also like to talk to them about how you want to approach services and what you want them to know. This might include whether or not you want to be ‘out’ or not.
- You may find it helpful to talk to friends and family about how you feel and any worries you have. They may have their own experiences to share or may be able to provide support so you don’t have to do things alone, if you don’t want to.
- You may want to start keeping a memory or life history book. This can include information on your past, your experiences and the memories that are important to you. It can help others to know more about what is important to you and it can be an enjoyable process.
- It’s helpful to talk to the people close to you about the future, and any wishes you have. This might include the care you want to receive, or where you want to live. You may want to put things in place now and it can help people to know what you want if you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the future. For more see 'Planning ahead'.
- Talking to other people who are in a similar situation to you can also be helpful. They might understand what you are going through better. It can be harder to find other LGB or T people with dementia. Online communities and forums are a good place to look for this, such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point, which has a group for LGBT people and their families and carers. Some local Age UKs have support groups for LGBT people. For more see ‘Services and care settings for LGBT people’.
- You may want to look at what support options there are for people with dementia where you live. These may not be specific to LGBT people, but you may want to try them. For more on this see ‘Services and support’.
- If you live alone, you might want to continue doing so. There is no reason why you can’t, but you might find it harder to manage some day-to-day tasks. There is lots of practical advice on staying independent and safe in booklet 1508, Living alone.
- If you don’t have a support network, or need more support than can be provided, you may need to think about getting professional help and support. For more on this see ‘Services and support’.