The GP and a hospital specialist will usually jointly prescribe and monitor any drug treatment for dementia. The arrangement will depend upon your situation, where you live and what medication you’re already taking.
After being diagnosed, health professionals such as the GP, dementia nurse, psychiatry nurse and occupational therapist, should arrange to see you at regular intervals to monitor any changes in your condition and discuss any concerns. The GP may work with a specialist mental health team or consultant for ongoing assessment and advice on ways to deal with specific difficulties.
Dementia medication and when it can be used
Most types of dementia will get progressively worse and unfortunately can’t be cured. However, for some causes of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s) there are drugs that can help delay the progression of some symptoms for a period of time.
Dementia drugs are generally prescribed to people in the early and middle stages, but each doctor will make a case-by-case decision depending on your condition and needs. However, there is no cure for dementia and not everybody will benefit from these drugs. Make sure you ask about possible side effects before taking any new medications. The prescribing doctor, nurse or GP can offer advice.
Psychological treatments for dementia
Psychological treatments don’t slow down the progression of dementia, but they can help patients to cope with the symptoms.
- Cognitive stimulation therapy: involves taking part in activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability.
- Reality orientation therapy: involves taking part in activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability. It reduces feelings of mental disorientation, memory loss and confusion, while improving self-esteem.
- Behavioural therapy: tries to find reasons for difficult behaviour and uses different strategies to try to change it.
General health and wellbeing with dementia
Many people can continue to live independent lives for some time following a dementia diagnosis. But additional support is always helpful, even if it’s not needed straight away. For anyone who has dementia, it’s important to keep active and continue to enjoy life. If you’re a family member or carer, you can help by talking about hobbies and activities, how these may need to change and what you can do to offer support.
The following charities have forums and helplines to support people living with dementia: both those who have been diagnosed and the people who care for them.
For anyone with a question or concern about dementia, call the helpline:
Mon–Fri, 9am–9pm; Sat–Sun, 9am–5pm
A charity aimed at improving the lives of people living with dementia.
A national membership charity that champions carers’ rights, connecting and supporting carers online and in local communities.
If you care for someone with dementia, find out how to get them the support they need, as well as support for yourself.
As a person’s dementia worsens, their behaviour is likely to change. We explain how you can prepare yourself.
If your loved one has dementia, you may need to take a different approach to discussing care options.