3. Where to get advice
Anyone considering getting equipment for themselves, or someone they know, should seek advice from professionals as soon as possible. The same applies to anyone who is making adaptations to their home. The following people should be able to help.
- An occupational therapist can advise on equipment and strategies to help someone with dementia with everyday activities, from washing and dressing to leisure activities. As the dementia progresses, they can also advise on appropriate ways to cope with the changes in mental and physical abilities caused by the condition. Occupational therapists work in health and social services and in private and voluntary organisations. You can contact an occupational therapist through the GP or hospital consultant, or through social services. For independent occupational therapists, contact the College of Occupational Therapists (see ‘Other useful organisations’).
- A qualified physiotherapist (known as a ‘chartered physiotherapist’) can advise on mobility aids, such as walking frames and wheelchairs, and on ways of helping someone with dementia to move safely. If the person attends hospital, they can ask to speak to a physiotherapist based there. Otherwise, they can ask the GP for a referral to the hospital physiotherapy department.
- A district nurse can advise on the kind of equipment needed for nursing someone at home. Someone can contact the district nurse through their GP surgery or health centre.
- A continence adviser can advise on problems relating to incontinence and give information on a range of aids. Most areas have a continence adviser – the GP can advise.