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Betty’s story: help to stay independent at home

Betty reclaimed control over her future with family understanding and support services.

Betty used to live alone. After a fall, and a few subsequent appointments, Betty was diagnosed with dementia, and Betty’s daughter-in-law, Heather, asked her to come and stay with them.

Living together had its share of ups and downs! Heather listened to Betty’s stories and worries, and wanted her to be involved and included. Heather firmly believed in being “in the moment, where Betty is”. Heather was calm and resilient to the changes in Betty which were so out of character. Betty’s behaviour was sometimes confronting, such as her confusion at family gatherings, occasional aggression and her insistence that things were missing. But it was Betty’s unhappiness about being away from her own home, the local area and familiar shops, and her usual GP which mostly upset everyone.

So they made plans so Betty could return to her own home and community . Fortunately, Heather knew Betty could get care in her own home. Together, they sought and received a package of care which supported independent living. This enabled the best of solutions, with Heather and their family still able to visit regularly. Betty reclaimed her independence, with support at her own home, which she had so missed.

Care packages are important but they are not always available as soon as you need them. Try to get started on this process as soon as you can. Betty was reluctant at first, but she worked through this.

Looking to the future, Betty and Heather have been talking about what might be best, if changes are needed. One of Betty’s friends is in a nursing home near her. Betty visits and likes this home, and is thinking positively about the future, in familiar surroundings, with family support.


Getting services at home

Read more about getting support and help-at-home services in 3.12 Dementia makes it harder to manage at home and 5.3 Plan to use services.

If you are a carer supporting a person with dementia, read 3.14 Dealing with symptoms at home.