• Dementia


What is dementia?

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. (Alzheimer’s Society).

Communicating with someone who has dementia

The NHS has these useful suggestions to try and begin conversations with the person you’re looking after, especially if you notice that they’re starting fewer conversations themselves.

  • Speak clearly and slowly, using short sentence.

  • Make eye contact with the person when they’re talking or asking questions.

  • Give them time to respond, because they may feel pressured if you try to speed up their answer.

  • Encourage them to join in conversations with others, where possible.

  • Let them speak for themselves during discussions about their welfare or health issues.

  • Try not to patronise them, or ridicule what they say.

  • Acknowledge what they have said, even if they don’t answer your question, or what they say seems out of context – show that you’ve heard them and encourage them to say more about their answer.

  • Give them simple choices – avoid creating complicated choices or options for them.

  • Use other ways to communicate – such as rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to.

What to expect from health and care services after diagnosis of dementia

The Department for Health and Social Care has published information to help you understand the kind of support and services available if you have been diagnosed with dementia or are supporting someone who has.

Read more.

Activities and Support in West Northumberland

Dementia activities and support in West Northumberland

The latest edition of ‘Activities and Support in West Northumberland’ for people living with dementia or memory loss is out now. This is a comprehensive guide to support groups, classes, dementia friendly film screenings and cafes, singing classes, advice services, physical and sporting activities and lots more. Due to the pandemic some activities may have changed, please contact individual activity providers for up-to-date information. The digital version can be downloaded below.

Activities and Support in West Northumberland

Useful Links and Information

Alzheimer’s Society’s helpline for advice, information and support.

Call: 0300 222 11 22.


DemTalk is a free, web-based toolkit to help improve communication with people with dementia. It was produced in a project facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society UK, by teams of stakeholders including communication researchers, technology designers, health and social care experts, carers and people living with dementia.


Dementia Connect is Alzheimer’s Society’s comprehensive services directory for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Enter your postcode or place name to find voluntary, statutory and private services nearest and most relevant to you. Each listing includes a map and clear, essential information about that service.


Advice and support on all aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.


Helping families to access care for those with dementia.


A guide to symptoms, support and care of those with dementia.


51 tips to help you live with dementia

UK Care Guide has produced a new infographic which gives 51 tips to help you live with dementia.

People with dementia can – and do – continue to live their lives to the full, even as the condition progresses. But living well is only possible with the right tools, support and advice. Take a look at the 51 tips to help you with daily living.

Northumberland Side by Side Service

Lady with dementia going shopping

Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side service has a real focus on empowering people affected by dementia. Volunteers support people living with dementia to identify their own personal talents, strengths and capabilities and help them to maintain fulfilling relationships with their peers and the wider community. Volunteers encourage people with dementia to get out and about, be active, retain old activities and take up new interests where possible.

Read more

Singing for the Brain

Alzheimer’s Society holds three Singing for the Brain groups in Northumberland. All of the groups are informal, relaxed and friendly and are for anyone who has dementia or memory problems and their carers, family members and friends to come along to together. Times & venues:

Great Hall, Hexham Abbey on the first Thursday of the month, 2.30pm – 4.00pm.

Elderberries Room, The Alnwick Garden on the third Tuesday of the month, 1.30pm – 3.00pm.

Blyth Phoenix Theatre on the first Monday of the month, 1.30pm – 3.00pm.

All sessions are free; just turn up! For more information ring: 01670 813255 or email:

Please note – due to the pandemic, the sessions are currently running online via Zoom on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 2.00pm to 3.00pm. Please get in touch using the contact details above if you would like to join in.

Morpeth Memory Cafe

The memory cafe is held at Morpeth Methodist Church and Centre for the Community and is for people with memory problems or dementia, and their family and friends. Come along for a chat, to pick up information and to enjoy some social time with others in a similar situation to your own. No need to book, just drop in. Refreshments will be available.

The café will run on the Thursdays shown below from 10.30am to 12.00pm in the coffee lounge at the Morpeth Methodist Centre, Howard Terrace, Morpeth. Dates for the rest of 2019 can be found here.

Specialist Northumberland Day Service

Dementia Matters has a new specialist day service in Cramlington, providing a variety of specialised services to support and engage those affected by memory issues. The service provides much needed sensory stimulation and essential carer break relief in an environment where loved ones can relax and feel supported, to enable people to continue living in their own homes. On offer is everything from cognitive stimulation therapy to chair based exercises.

Bookings can be made for half a day up to five days a week, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm. To secure a place call: 0191 217 1323.

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