Caring for someone with dementia can be both demanding and challenging. Addressing new challenges and helping them maintain their independence as best as possible can be difficult for family and loved ones. You want to ensure that you give them the best level of care possible, but that shouldn’t mean that you have to do it entirely alone.
Here, we’re going to look at a variety of resources and services that can both people living with dementia as well as those who are acting as carers or are the primary decision makers for their loved ones with dementia. With the guide below, hopefully, you should find some help, whether it be financial, advice, counselling, or otherwise.
Government-backed financial support for carers and those with dementia
In recognition of the key role that carers play in our society, the government has a range of carer support services, including financial assistance, for those who provide care for loved ones with dementia. These can include not only direct payment schemes but also subsidies and discounts that can help manage the many costs that can come with the role.
The Carer Payment
This payment is built specifically for those who are unable to work in paid employment as they instead provide daily care on a full-time basis to those who need it, including loved ones with dementia. It’s a means-tested benefit based on your income and assets for those who provide constant care at home over a significant period of time, namely six months. The Department of Human Services website allows you to claim online, to get in touch through the Carers line, or to visit a service centre if you need any help with filling your application and providing the necessary documents.
The Carer Allowance
This is another type of financial aid for those who provide care to someone with a medication condition, like dementia. Unlike the Carer Payment, the Carer Allowance is for those who provide additional daily care, instead of full-time daily care, in their own home or the home of the person with dementia. Unlike the Carer Payment, this option is not means-tested or taxable and may be paid on top of the Carer Payment, wages, or any other financial aid. Again, you make a claim on the Department of Human Services website, through the Carers line, or at your local service centre.
The Carer Supplement
As the name implies, this is an additional annual lump sum payment that is made available to recipients of the Carer Payment or the Carer Allowance. This additional funding is designed to help with the costs of caring for a loved one with dementia. You do not have to apply for the Carer Supplement, however. If you are already receiving the Carer Payment or the Carer Allowance, Centrelink will check your eligibility automatically and inform you if you are to receive it, at which point the payment will be made automatically to your bank account.
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme
This is a scheme from the Australian government that offers payments to help with the costs of continence products. Applicants can apply through the Continence Aids Payment Scheme website or through the Department of Human Services website. On a successful application, payments are made from the day that the application is received can be made in one full payment in July or two half payments in January and July.
Subsidised home care packages
There is a range of support available to those who need assistance with day-to-day activities as well as those who are primarily responsible for their care. My Aged Care provides comprehensive assessments that can find out your eligibility for Australian government subsidised home support. You can get in touch either through the My Aged Care website or by phoning at 1800 200 422. People who have been diagnosed with dementia can get in touch directly or nominate loved ones to act as their representative.
The assessment will be carried out either by a Regional Assessment Service or Aged Care Assessment Team. From there, applicants may receive a subsidised home care package and be able to choose a home care provider such as Dementia Caring. The Dementia and Cognition Supplement offers further funding for home care recipients living with severe levels of cognitive impairments related to dementia and similar issues.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme
People over 65 can also apply for subsidised home care packages through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. No. People under 65 can apply for individualised support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Dementia Australia NSW Younger Onset Key Workers, provided through Dementia Australia, can help with the application process, obtaining the necessary request forms and providing guidance throughout. They can also help plan for meetings with planners, offer links to providers of services and supports, and offer training for carers and family, links to peer support groups, behaviour management strategies and much more.
Getting further information about a diagnosis
If someone you love has just been diagnosed with dementia, then learning more about the condition as early as possible can help you address some of the upcoming challenges. Organisations like Dementia Australia or Carers Australia can offer information, support, and counselling for carers of people with dementia. Their structured programs can help you learn more about care needs, provide skills training for carers, and provide more information about resources and services available in your area.
From Dementia Australia, take a closer look at the Family Carer Education and the Living with Dementia series. These are two education programs that can offer advice, peer support, and services that can be especially helpful for those who are in the early stages of a diagnosis as well as those caring for them.
If you’re uncertain of what resources and services might apply to you, then the National Dementia Helpline is available from Monday to Friday, from 9am-5pm. You can call them on 1800 100 500, chat to them online at Dementia Australia, send them an email, or request a free dementia kit.
Addressing your needs and planning your route ahead
Those who are coping with a recent dementia diagnosis can also join a program that can help them learn more about the diagnosis, how to live with it and get specific advice of further resources and services they can make use of. Dementia Australia provides Recently Diagnosed with Dementia sessions that act as a primer for what the condition is, tips of living with it, and information on supports, services, and programs available.
For new carers of people living with dementia, there are also educational programs that can help them learn more about the condition and their role in helping loved ones address all of their needs. To find what educational programs and services are available to you, visit the Dementia Australia website or call them directly on 1800 100 500. The Dementia Education and Training Carers program is also available through the Department of Social Services. You can learn more about it by calling 1800 052 222 or by visiting your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre.
There are over 200 support groups in New South Wales alone, offering people with dementia and their carers the opportunity to meets others in similar situations. Here, they can share their stories, offer support and ideas or advice, building skills for living with dementia and caring for those with dementia. The National Dementia Helpline can help you find local support groups by calling 1800 100 500. This includes specialist groups such as those for male carers, multicultural carers and adult children of people with Younger Onset Dementia.
One example is the Living with Dementia Program, an early intervention program for those living with early-stage dementia and their carers. Here, attendees are encouraged to tell their story, reflect on the diagnosis, and communicate with others. This can help build an understanding of the importance of self-care, be useful for learning techniques for problem-solving, and offers further information on legal and financial concerns that can rise as a result of a dementia diagnosis.
Another program, “Every bloke needs a shed” helps men living the community with early-stage dementia by supporting them in finding local Men’s Sheds. Here, they can enjoy camaraderie and group activity with facilities like wood and metal work, raised garden beds, crafts, electronics, shared meals and more with the supervision of a carer,
Counselling and support
Dementia Australia provides counselling with professionals for those who are having trouble with issues related to a dementia diagnosis. This can be found on the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 and can help address a wide range of topics. With counselling, you can speak about issues like a new diagnosis, caring for someone with dementia, finding assistance, responding to changes in behaviour, family life, future planning, moving to residential care and much more.
Therapy and social programs
The Social and Therapeutic Programs from Dementia Australia also support those with dementia, carers, family, and other loved ones with meaningful activities in both the home and at other locations. These can include workshops that help to build problem-solving and communication skills as well as one-hour meetings on the role of the carer. There may also be workshops around you in libraries, local councils, senior groups and so on that can help you engage your community and cooperate with ways to improve participation and engagement from those with dementia.
Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service
People living with dementia are likely to experience changes to their behaviour over the course of their life and coping with these behavioural changes can be difficult for carers and loved ones. The Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service available from Dementia Support Australia can help you address those changes and how they affect the carer that you provide.
Dementia Support Australia provides information, assessments, and short-term management interventions for carers. This includes a full assessment of the carer/support network, clinical support, care planning, mentoring for carers, and referrals to the Severe Behaviour Response Teams. They also have a range of advice and support services for people in special needs groups, such as younger/working age dementia and those who have dementia and a learning disability.
The Severe Behaviour Response teams are there to provide advice from nurse practitioners, nurses, and other specialists to help address the needs of people with severe and very severe changes in behaviour and new psychological symptoms of dementia.
Respite care and carer support
Whether subsidised or private, carers can benefit from a range of respite care services that can ensure their loved one’s needs are taken care of completely. This allows carers to take a break, to have time to themselves, and to enjoy their own hobbies and activities without worrying about whether or not their loved one is being taken care of.
Dementia Caring offers a host of respite care services to meet every need, whether you need an hour of respite care every two days, a day of full-time care, or whatever else your preference might be.
Our carer support programs can also allow you to gain access to carer support services like home maintenance tips, meal prep plans, additional nursing services, as well as help with group outings, transport, and shopping assistance. These programs are designed to allow carers more flexibility, as well as help in ensuring the needs of their loved ones are met fully.
Learn more from Dementia Caring
If you want to know more about the resources and services available to you and your loved one with dementia, or if you need help finding the best dementia support and assisted care in Australia, get in touch with Dementia Caring. We are devoted to providing excellence in personal home care, house caring, home maintenance, specialist therapies and respite care to those living with dementia and those who care for them. We are committed to ensuring the best for everyone involved in the lives of those with dementia and will offer what support we can.