Five things you can do to support someone living with dementia
A diagnosis can leave a person and their carer feeling isolated and with a sense of losing control. However, there are some practical ways you support someone living with dementia and their carers:
1. Help them to adapt and cope with their condition
Someone living with dementia can get frustrated at their loss of independence but with a little creativity, everyday tasks can be achievable – for example:
• Using lists to take shopping or jog memories;
• Breaking down tasks into easy to follow steps;
• Keeping a calendar or diary of appointments.
• Support with transport for those no longer able to drive.
2. Encourage participation in local support groups such as the Alzheimer’s Society
Social interaction is very important for the emotional and psychological well-being of both the person suffering from dementia and their carer. Sharing problems and experiences with others in similar situations can be an great release and give a feeling of reconnecting with society. Such organisations also can be a marvellous source of information.
3. Support carers
Perhaps you could offer some respite for the carer themselves or arrange for a degree of outside support from a professional carer. Encourage the carer to look after themselves as well, with good food, fresh air and exercise and enough sleep. Some areas also have charities which specifically support carers and are well worth seeking out.
4. Managing finances
It is important for a person in the early stages of dementia to review their finances to ensure that legal documentation such as wills and lasting powers of attorney are in place. This can help people to retain a sense of control about how their property and finances will be handled in the future and that their loved ones are provided for.
A bank account with limited facilities can also be set up, which can prolong someone’s ability to handle money in everyday transactions safely.
5. Remaining active for as long as possible
Keeping active not only benefits health, it also keeps people connected with friends and family and gives them a chance to express themselves. Ideas include:
• Getting creative – drawing, painting, keeping scrapbooks;
• Singing and listening to music;
• Walking, gardening, dancing and gentle exercise;
• Playing games, listening to the radio or audiobooks and reading.