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Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

Many people with dementia can lead active and fulfilling lives for many years. There are many different types of dementia. Some are far more common than others. The Alzheimer's Society has information about types of dementia.

Dementia support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, health and social care services in Derbyshire are open and it's important that people living with dementia and their carers access support and advice if they are worried about something or are struggling.

If you haven't got a diagnosis of dementia but are worried abut your memory you should contact your GP. If your GP thinks you may have dementia they will refer you for a memory assessment.

If you've already been referred for a memory assessment and are waiting for an appointment you can get support, information and advice from the Derbyshire Dementia Support Service while you wait, tel: 01332 208845. The service can support you through the diagnosis and answer any queries.

During the pandemic Healthwatch Derbyshire are offering a service to help people navigate and understand health and social care services. You can call Healthwatch on tel: 01773 880786.

Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have set up a mental health helpline to help anyone who is struggling mentally or emotionally during the pandemic, particularly those with health conditions. You can contact the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on freephone 0800 028 0077.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire have information about how services are currently operating, including opening information and safety precautions. You should continue to attend health appointments you are sent. Staff are using protective equipment and following safety guidelines when necessary.

Derbyshire Dementia Support Service

The Derbyshire Dementia Support Service is commissioned by adult care and delivered by the Alzheimer's Society. The service is available in all areas of the county to provide support, information and guidance for those living with dementia and for their carers including:

  • understanding dementia
  • how to get help locally
  • maintaining independence
  • financial and legal matters
  • caring for people with dementia
  • changes in relationships and behaviour
  • community care
  • long-stay care

The service can support both you and your family members and carers through the different stages of dementia.

The Dementia Support Service delivers a range of groups for people affected by memory loss or dementia where you can meet other people who have similar circumstances to you:

  • memory cafés
  • carers' groups
  • singing for the brain

An online toolkit for dementia has been developed for people living with dementia and their carers to provide more support to understand and learn from others' experiences of living with the condition

You don't need an official diagnosis of dementia or be of a certain age to get advice and support from the service. You can contact the service if you're worried about your memory, or you're just seeking information and advice for yourself or others.

Carers supporting people living with dementia can be referred for support in their own right.

Find more information on the Derbyshire Dementia Support Service website.


To find out more about services in your area email: or tel: 01332 208845.

Living with dementia

People living with dementia can be alert and aware of their condition. It's important to know the person with advancing dementia, and support them to maintain their own identity.

Although dementia causes the loss of some abilities, people's feelings remain intact. It's essential to empathise with people's emotions. Caring and supportive relationships can help people to cope with the difficult experience of advancing dementia.

NHS Choices has a dementia guide which provides information, videos and newsletters which you may find useful if you're living with dementia, or caring for someone who has dementia.

Living well with dementia programme

The living well with dementia programme is offered to people who are in the in early stages of dementia and their carers and families.

The 6 to 7 week programme offers help and support in coming to terms with a dementia diagnosis, gives practical advice on living well with dementia and offers support for carers, including coping skills and help to understand the roles of different organisations and professionals.

The programme runs at venues across the county. For more information you can read the programme leaflets attached to this page, or call:

  • North Derbyshire living well with dementia programme, tel: 01246 515576
  • South Derbyshire and Derby living well with dementia programme, tel: 0115 907 1440

To access the programme you can speak to your GP, social worker or another NHS worker and ask to be referred.

Changes due to the coronavirus pandemic

As the programme can't be delivered face to face during the COVID-19 pandemic, Derbyshire Community Health Services and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have jointly developed an online version of the programme.

The online programme could be helpful to people with mild dementia and their carers and families and has useful links to activity ideas and resources towards the end of the course.

Young onset dementia

Dementia is 'young onset' when it affects a person aged 65 or under. It is also known as 'early onset' or 'working age' dementia. Currently there are more than 42,000 people in the UK who have the condition. Young onset dementia can often be difficult to recognise.

The young dementia network allows persons with young dementia, their families and carers to share their experiences in a community environment. The network also enables its members to become involved in influencing national policy and improve the services for them.

Caring for someone with dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can be both stressful and rewarding. Carers in Derbyshire has information, advice and support for carers including:

  • sources of practical help and details of local and national advice lines
  • carers rights, including carer assessments
  • information about support groups
  • registration for a Carer's Emergency Card
  • welfare benefits advice
  • services to give you a break from your caring role

A guide offering practical information for anyone caring for a person with dementia has been developed by Health Education England in collaboration with healthcare professionals, educators and carers.

The dementia guide for carers aims to support an understanding of the progressive nature of dementia and the challenges a person caring for someone with dementia may experience. Its focus is on living well with dementia.

You can use the Carers Directory to find local support services such as carer support groups and memory activity sessions which both you and the person you care for can attend together. The Social Care Institute for Excellence has produced a video about the emotional impact of living with dementia.

As part of care planning for someone with dementia you can also see our information on:

Life is for living

Life is for living is a film project exploring life for people living with dementia and their carers, living in Amber Valley.

This active group took part in and set up a number of dementia-friendly activities, including a tea dance and social swimming, and wanted to make a film of their own.

The main aim of the video is to enable the group to 'gift' their personal stories, experiences, learning, passions, and the belief that 'life is for living' to other people affected by dementia. They are reaching out to carers, and people who are newly diagnosed and creating awareness pre-diagnosis.

The Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme that has been introduced by Derbyshire Constabulary and other local agencies.

The Herbert Protocol initiative is named after George Herbert, a World War veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia and repeatedly went missing from his care home whilst trying to return home.

The protocol encourages carers of people with dementia or other mental vulnerabilities to prepare for the eventuality of the person going missing.

Dementia strategy and consultation

We've worked with the NHS Derbyshire clinical commissioning groups to develop a strategy which sets out plans for improving services for people with dementia.

This work included consultations with people with dementia, carers, health and social care professionals, the third sector, and other stakeholders about the support required to live well with dementia in the community.

The full Derbyshire Joint Dementia Strategy and consultation report are attached to this page.

Delirium and dementia

A sudden change in a person's mental state is known as delirium.

Delirium could lead to increased confusion, disorientation, or difficulty with concentration, and can come on very quickly. It can happen when you're medically unwell and can be caused by infections, pain or dehydration.

Delirium can be very distressing both for the individual and the people who are caring for them.

Joined up Care Derbyshire have developed a short video to help people learn more about delirium. It explains what it is, how someone with delirium may act, and how to spot the signs.

Delirium is a treatable condition and may co-exist with dementia. However, it's sometimes difficult to recognise in people with dementia because it has similar symptoms such as confusion and difficulties with thinking and concentration.

Joined up Care Derbyshire have also developed delirium and dementia awareness training. The online training takes around 30 to 40 minutes and is aimed at people with dementia, their carers, families and professionals to help them recognise, manage and prevent delirium.