Diagnosis: On average, symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made, according to Alzheimer’s Australia. A caregiver cannot diagnose the disease. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have dementia, see your GP or a geriatrician. Care plan: Because dementia varies in degree from person to person, a tailored care plan should be put in place. Your carer will begin by visiting for a client assessment. Discuss your concerns and ask any questions you may have during this time. Ensure that the care plan is reviewed every six months as the patient’s needs may change. Where to get help: Carers are advised to take regular breaks and look after their own health. Respite services are available — visit myagedcare.gov.au for more details. You can also join a carer association for support.