Supporting someone with a dementia
Dementia is a condition that can affect a person’s ability to think, learn, reason and remember. People with a dementia are still the same person they always were but they might need a bit more support to help them live their lives to the fullest.
It is up to all of us to help them do this, be they a family member or someone we meet out and about. There are many small things we can do for a person with a dementia which can make a big difference to their lives. Below are some helpful tips to help a person with a dementia remain as included and supported as possible.
As the condition progresses, a person with a dementia will eventually need more support. For information on this and where to find help and support, please visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia.
Engage with the person.
You might need to speak a little bit more slowly, but still include the person in your conversations, and don’t just talk to others about them.
Keep in touch.
They are still the same person you always knew and still need you to keep in touch with them. A simple ‘hello’ in the street can make all the difference to how a person feels about themselves. If they are an old friend, try to catch up with them as much as possible.
Listen to the person with a dementia.
It is good to understand what a person with a dementia is going through. Listen to what they have to say and have the patience to allow them to express their wishes in the best way for them.
If you notice a person struggling, try to offer help.
Support them to do the things they love as much as possible and offer help if they need it. Don’t just do everything for them, but allow them the independence to still do as much for themselves as possible.
If you see someone looking a bit confused when you are out and about, approach them and offer support. Make eye contact, speak clearly and check if there is anything you can do.
A person with a dementia still has so much to offer.
Value them for what they can still do. A person with a dementia can still contribute to our lives in so many ways and can still teach us a thing or two!
Learn the facts about dementia.
Try not to get too worried about some of the myths out there about dementia. Find a trusted source of information and take it from there, for example www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia
Talk about dementia
Be open and talk about dementia. It is only by talking about dementia that we will help reduce stigma and fear and have a more open, supportive society for those with the condition.
A person with a dementia can still live an independent life
They might just have to make some adaptations in the early stages that can help as the condition progresses. These might be changes to their home or how they get out and about.
A person with dementia can still have fun!
Keep the mood positive as much as possible and know that people with a dementia still want to enjoy life. They want to continue to be themselves, whether this is going for a quick coffee and a catch up, or to the football.
Even if a person with a dementia struggles to understand what you are saying to them, keep a calm, affectionate tone and use relaxed body language. This will show the person you have time for them and make them feel valued and supported.
Find out more:
- For more information on how you can help someone with dementia and where you can get help and support, please visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia
- Read more: Living with dementia: Why a diagnosis is important
- Read more: #STILLME: Frances talks about receiving her dementia diagnosis and how she’s still living an active life
- Read more: 10 common dementia symptoms: Spotting the difference between a dementia and forgetfulness
- Read more: If you know someone with a dementia, don’t be a stranger.