Dementia Care Site Map
Strategies for Living with Dementia

 

A lot can be done to assist you in living with dementia. However you will need the support from your family and friends, so get them involved early and keep them informed.

Some recommended strategies for living with dementia are included in this section for your benefit.


Share the load

Talk things over with your family and friends, tell them the diagnosis as soon as possible and ask them for their support. It may also help to talk to someone outside the family about your feelings.

 

Ask for help

Contact your Alzheimer's Australia on 1800 100 500 regarding possible courses on understanding dementia or talk with someone face to face, involve your family too.

It will really help you to understand the inner world of the person with dementia and how to move with the changes associated with the condition. The focus should be on maintaining a good quality of life and a sense of well being for you, the person with dementia and your family.

 

Join a dementia support group

Join a support group and share information and ideas with other people in similar situations.

 

Work

If you are still at work and are finding it stressful, there may be an opportunity to switch to a less demanding job or to reduce your hours.

 

Memory

If you find it hard to remember things, you may find it useful to follow these tips:

  • Ask lots of questions.
  • Let people know if you don't understand them, ask them to explain again.
  • Don't be afraid to say that you have forgotten what has been said. Remember, it is not your fault if you can't remember as well as you used to.

 

Look for practical ways to assist your memory, such as:

 

  • Establish a memory area in your house, such as the kitchen. If you have kept a diary in the past continue to do so. This is a good habit to help remind you of upcoming events.
  • Place helpful telephone numbers by the phone where you can see them.
  • Put things you use all the time, such as your keys or glasses, in an obvious place- such as a large bowl in the kitchen.
  • Purchase a calendar clock which will remind you of the date as well as the time.
  • Put labels on cupboards or drawers to remind you where things are.
  • Write reminders to yourself eg. to lock the door at night, or put out the rubbish on a certain day.

 

Health

It is important to take good care of your health. Having dementia should not mean that you feel ill, so always check with your doctor if you feel unwell. This is important because an illness has the potential to make you more forgetful.

 

  • Try to eat balanced meals.
  • Try to take regular exercise.
  • Keep in close contact with your G.P. If you are on medication, ask them to review it regularly
  • Have regular eye and hearing checks.
  • Painful teeth, gums or dentures can also make life more difficult. Make sure that you have regular dental check-ups.

 

Establish a routine

You may find it helpful to maintain your previous routine as much as possible:

 

  • It may assist your memory and you may find it reassuring to do things at the same time each day or each week.
  • Nevertheless, try to keep on making the occasional one-off visit or trip, to keep life interesting and enjoyable. Try to keep connected with family and friends, if you find going out too stressful ask them around for a quiet chat or some one on one time.

 

Keep doing things you enjoy for as long as possible - if you find this difficult, try to take things at a slower pace.

 

Community services

Contact your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222. When you contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre the staff at the Centre will discuss your situation with you, and give you information about the local services available or those you may benefit from. However, if you would like to search for services in your area yourself you can use their online search facility.

 

Local community services are there to help you remain independent at home, for as long as possible.

 

Enjoy life

Some of your previous interests may seem too stressful or demanding. However there will be many activities that will still give you satisfaction.

 

  • Try to find things that you still enjoy doing such as listening to music, knitting, playing a game or exercising or talking to a friend.
  • Caring for a pet can be very satisfying and reassuring. Taking a dog for a walk is a good way of getting regular exercise.
  • Conversation between large groups of people can be hard to follow, so you may prefer friends or family to visit one or two at a time.
  • Try to concentrate on what you can still do, rather than what you can't.
  • Consider starting a life history book. Use a simple scrapbook or photo album to record details of your past and present life that will be helpful for anyone who may be supporting you. This is something your family and friends can help you with, and it is a great opportunity to share your history, memories and thoughts with those close to you.