(The Information provided on this page is for guidance purpose only, it has been paraphrased from NHS public information. For further support and advice please visit their website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/living-well-with-dementia/)
Dementia has the potential to impact every aspect of an individual's life, as well as those in their immediate circle.
If you have received a diagnosis of dementia, it is crucial to keep in mind that:
Despite experiencing difficulties with memory, concentration, and planning, you remain the same person.
Each person's experience with dementia is unique.
Focusing on activities you can still engage in and enjoy will help maintain a positive outlook.
With timely support and assistance, many individuals can live well with dementia for several years. Maintaining social connections and participating in activities like theater visits, cinema outings, walking groups, or choirs contributes to confidence and mental well-being.
For individuals providing care, an active social life is beneficial for them as well.
Numerous communities have become dementia-friendly. For example, cinemas organize dementia-friendly screenings of the latest films, and leisure centers offer swimming sessions and other activities tailored for dementia patients.
Consider joining a local dementia-friendly group, such as a memory café or community center. These settings provide opportunities to share experiences and gather advice from others living with dementia. When you're ready, it's advisable to inform others about your diagnosis, including the specific challenges you may face, such as difficulty following conversations or remembering details.
Some people may treat you differently than before. This could stem from a lack of understanding regarding dementia or a desire to help without knowing how to do so. Explaining your diagnosis and the ways in which they can provide support and assistance is a good approach.
You may also experience a loss of contact with certain individuals due to a change in shared activities or difficulties in staying connected. Although accepting this can be challenging, joining activity and support groups can help you meet new people. It is important to prioritize the individuals who are there to support you.
Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial when living with dementia. Here are some recommendations:
Maintain a healthy and balanced diet, ensuring adequate hydration.
Engage in regular exercise, such as walking, gardening, tai chi, or dancing.
Consult your GP about receiving flu and pneumonia vaccinations if recommended.
Get sufficient sleep, avoiding daytime naps and limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption at night.
Address any potential depression by speaking with your GP, who can suggest suitable talking treatments.
Schedule regular dental, eyesight, and hearing check-ups.
If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease, attend regular check-ups with your GP, including reviews of your medications.
Consult your GP if you feel unwell, as untreated infections like chest or urinary tract infections can greatly impact confusion levels.
Coping with memory loss and cognitive difficulties can be distressing, but there are strategies that can help. Consider the following tips:
Establish a consistent routine.
Display a weekly timetable in the kitchen or on the fridge, planning activities for
when you feel more alert (e.g., mornings).
Keep your keys in a noticeable spot, like a large bowl in the hallway.
Maintain a list of important contact numbers, including emergency contacts, near the telephone.
Arrange for regular bills to be paid through direct debits to avoid forgetting payment.
Utilize a pill organizer box (dosette box) to help remember which medications to take and when (your pharmacist can assist you with this).
Ensure your living environment is dementia-friendly and safe. In the early stages of dementia, it is possible to continue living at home, engaging in activities you enjoy and maintaining an active social life.
As the disease progresses, you may require additional assistance with daily tasks such as housework, shopping, and cooking. The initial step is to apply for a needs assessment from your local council's adult social services. This assessment will help identify areas where you might benefit from support.
It is advisable to undergo this assessment