Social prescribing and dementia



Social prescribing can be a really useful part of personalised care. This new tool aims to help improve the care of those living with dementia.

There are a lot of non-medical issues that can impact our health and wellbeing.  These might be our finances, loneliness, housing problems, and so on. Social prescribing can help people with these issues.


Working through your GP surgery


and provide tailored advice and links to other organisations


Social prescribers are non-medical, community
advisors employed by a primary care trust or a


to organisations, groups and experts that can help you find your way forward with dementia.


This tool is aimed at social prescribers, and identifies challenges and potential strategies when supporting peoplae living with dementia.


Look below for tips on how to identify social prescribing services in your area.

Social Prescribing and Dementia

Social prescribing works well for people with long-term health conditions.
For someone living with dementia, social prescribing can make a big difference in quality of life.
People who help with social prescribing can be called different names, and this can vary from area to area.

Social prescriber
is a general term for someone who can also be called a:
Link Worker:
Person who receives referrals to social prescribing services, understands what is available locally, and matches people to suitable activities/support.
Or you may come across someone called a:
Dementia Navigator:
A person who specialises specifically in dementia. They have expert knowledge of local dementia services and can use this knowledge to tailor support to help people living with dementia and those who support them access services and assistance.
Dementia Link Worker:
A person whose role focuses specifically on social prescribing for people living with dementia. They will be well-informed in dementia needs and challenges some people can face. They connect individuals to community groups/services suited to dementia.

Sometimes people use all of these different titles for social prescribers, but overall, their role is the same: to meet non-medical needs by linking people with community support in their area.
In practical terms, social prescribers can help you to find local:

  • Lunch clubs, singing for the brain or tea dances
  • Specific answers about dementia and support, like memory cafes, Age UK or Alzheimer’s Society support
  • Exercise, art, or music in a dementia-friendly setting, such as singing for the brain
  • Groups for caregivers to take breaks
  • information to understand care costs and paperwork
  • Transport to social events and medical appointments
  • Learning opportunities to use technology to stay independent
  • Arrangements to set up social, home care, financial and legal support

Which resources are available depends on where you live, but a link worker will be able to identify local options for you.

Are you living with dementia?

We are here to help you find your way forward with dementia. See articles written with others living with dementia that can be accessed here

Are you a care worker?

We are here to support you finding a way forward with dementia for your clients. See articles written with other healthcare professionals on this page

Are you a carer?

We are here to help you find your way forward with dementia. We have numerous articles written with other carers that can be accessed here

You can also set up a personalised toolkit on Forward with Dementia

Save articles and practical tips in the form of to-do’s that are relevant to you in your personal toolkit, that you can share, print and keep here 

Can I access social prescribing in my area?

If you or someone close could benefit from social prescribing, talk to someone at your GP practice. They will be able to make a referral for you if social prescribing is offered in your local health trust.

  • You can also search online for “[your area] social prescribing” to find services that work with local GP surgeries.
  • Contact your Healthwatch or council too. They know social prescribing programmes in your community and how you can connect.
  • Another good option is to talk to local charities and voluntary organisations supporting people with dementia. Often, they are linked to social prescribing and will be able to give you information.

How to use this tool

When you click on “Use the social prescribing tool online” above, you will access organised lists of challenges and strategies.

These were compiled and created by social prescribers with our dementia researchers and have proved useful in handling some of the complexities of personalised care by other social prescribers.

There is no need to log-in or give any data whatsoever when using the tool.
There is a PDF version that may be worth downloading and using when you are offline or out of mobile or wifi connection.

When to use this tool

This tool aims to be a guide that can help you with dementia conversations and personal care planning if you have not had too much experience working with people living with dementia.

Use the online version when you are connected to wifi or mobile range and the offline version (if you have previously downloaded it to your device) when you are out of wifi or mobile range.

Sections in the Social prescribing challenge tool

You will find 10 sections within the tool that cover the entire social prescribing consultancy period when working with people living with dementia.

  1. An introduction to what you will find within the guide
  2. Pre-contact and referral
  3. First contact
  4. Building trust and rapport
  5. Identifying needs
  6. Identifying and signposting to resources
  7. Engaging people living with dementia
  8. Your emotional reactions
  9. Discharge and the continuity of care
  10. Professional development and training


Celebrating those who collaborated with us to create this new tool

We simply could not have created this new tool without the help of some knowledgeable, generous people who gave their time to support this new resource for Social Prescribers. Read the article here