10 Best Living with Dementia Tips & Advice

living with dementia

There are ways and approaches that make living with dementia a lot less stressful on the person, loved ones and caregivers.

For most people, a positive dementia diagnosis means a life sentence full of nightmares and all the bad experiences imaginable.

These feelings are heightened by the fact that there is still no cure for the illness.

It is, however, important to note that living with dementia does not have to be the worst thing a person can go through.

Guide on Living with Dementia

Below you will explore some of the tips and recommendations that a person with dementia can work with to live a more fulfilling and independent life for the longest possible time.

1. Accept your Situation

living with dementia
After getting to know that you have dementia, it is tempting to keep the news to yourself and pretend that everything is in place.

This is the wrong move.

It is advisable to share the news with people who care about you.

It does not mean that you have to go on the rooftops and shout about your health condition.

Take as much time as you need but when you are ready, do not shy away from sharing this news with people you love whether it is your relatives or friends.

This way, they will be in a position to understand what you are going through, especially when you start going through some changes that the disease causes.


As you share the news, it is important to understand that different people will take in the news differently.

Some will be shocked and they may immediately start treating you differently.

It’s important to communicate about dementia.

Many will do this because they do not know what dementia is and have no clue what to do to help.

Try and explain what your diagnosis means and also tell them the ways that they can be of assistance.

For instance, if you cannot drive, your support system can step in to drop and pick you up when you need to go somewhere.

As much as it is hard to accept, you can also find that you might lose touch with some individuals.

Try and take these changes in your relationships positively.

After all, you might end up meeting new people in support groups or while engaging in different activities.

2. Learn about Dementia

learn about dementia
Millions of people around the globe are battling with dementia and new cases are coming up every year.

A person who is living with dementia needs to have in-depth knowledge of the illness to live well with the condition.

Thankfully, there is a wealth of information about dementia, including its stages and helpful treatments.

Your doctor should give you details about the illness and also offer referrals to valuable resources.

Empowering yourself means that you will be more equipped to face the challenges that lay ahead. You will also know how to better handle the symptoms you get.

3. Take Care of Your Whole Being

living with dementia by taking care of your whole being
What this means is that you need to take good care of your physical body, spiritual, psychological, and emotional health.

In regards to physical health, it is important to engage in exercises that you can handle with ease.

You also need to check what you are consuming so that you are always eating a balanced diet. This way, the body will get the nutrients and minerals it needs to boost your immune system.

Take care of your psychical and physical health

Getting enough sleep is non-negotiable.

It is also prudent to take care of your mental health by participating in stimulating activities that you can find in classes or hobbies. Various group activities are also fun.

Your doctor might also propose that you cut down on smoking and drinking alcohol or stop altogether.

When it comes to emotional health, remember to allow yourself to go through a range of emotions, especially when you first get the news.

After accepting the situation, you can go ahead and join a support group. It is best to join one with people who have dementia, whether offline or online.

Also, it is a great coping mechanism because you will not feel like you are alone and members of the group can help each other through their journeys.

It is also crucial to find something that will nourish you spiritually.

Some individuals may gravitate towards spending time in nature, religion, or calming activities like yoga.

Do all it takes to live a happy, stress-free life when dealing with dementia.

4. Plan Ahead

people with early dementia need to plan ahead
Sadly, it may reach a point where a person living with dementia is not able to make proper decisions.

For this reason, it is vital to plan for your future when you are still independent and can make sound decisions.

Long-term plans for dementia

1. Choosing a person you trust to act on your behalf in terms of managing your medical and financial needs.

2. Creating a will so that after breathing your last breath, your possessions, money, and property will go into the persons you pick.

The state gets to decide who will get what if you die without having a valid will.

3. Making a statement in advance about the care that you want to receive during the later stages of the disease as well as where you want to receive the care from.

This is a written statement that will highlight your beliefs, wishes, preferences, and values in terms of future care.

The person that you choose to handle important issues in the future will be your attorney. Failure to pick an attorney means that no one will have the right to make decisions when you are not able to.

This is something that can make things difficult for your family because they may not be able to pay bills or make good decisions about your care.

When it boils down to this, a person may be forced to apply to become your deputy at a Court of Protection. This is a costly process that may end up taking a lot of time.

5. Live in a Dementia-Friendly Environment

live in a dementia friendly environment
An individual who has dementia should live in a comfortable and safe environment.

If you choose to live at home, some modifications that can be done to create a suitable living environment.

Some of the changes that you can make around the home include working with a recognizable and meaningful interior design that incorporates your life story complete with words and pictures.

Making sure the house has good natural lighting is also important when you want to reduce shadows and glare.

Detectors for falls, GPS, alarms, and sensors can help boost security.

A tablet or smartphone can also come in handy because you can use this to organize your life, keep track of what is going on, revisit videos, and photos, and also communicate with your relatives and friends.

6. Stay Active and Busy

people with dementia to stay active and busy
When you are living with dementia, it becomes easy to withdraw socially and wallow in self-pity. You must resist this urge if you want to enjoy a quality life even into the later stages of the illness.

Staying active is also important because it will give you a sense of self-worth and purpose.

Find activities that you love and enjoy them to your heart’s content. Many service providers today are sensitive to the needs of a person who has dementia.

Occupy your body and mind

For instance, some cinemas put on dementia-friendly screenings which means you can go out and enjoy the latest film.

Many leisure centers also run appropriate activities for persons with dementia which means that you have a long list of activities to choose from.

When moving about, it is imperative to carry a card that will let other people know you have dementia.

The card should include details of a person that others can contact if you get lost or are in some sort of emergency.

When you do not have the energy to jump or move around, there are other ways to keep busy. Examples of these include listening to music or doing crosswords.

If you have grandchildren, you can offer to babysit for a few hours. There is also the option to volunteer to avoid the risks of loneliness, isolation, and depression.

7. Follow Routines

People with dementia need to follow routines
Sticking to routines is another way that people who have dementia can live well.

Do the same thing at the same time each week or day. This is bound to reassure you while at the same time stimulating your memory.

Having set schedules can also help you reduce the time you spend thinking about what needs to be done next.

If you always forget about things you need to get done regularly, you can pin your to-do-list on prominent places. This can include things like switching off lights or locking doors.

Some people with the illness also say that it helps to carry a notebook and pen around where you can write down the tasks you need to complete in a day.

You may also find that it is helpful to put important things like keys or glasses in the same place daily so that you do not have a problem locating them.

Additionally, a clock that shows the day of the week and date can come in handy.

8. Set Realistic Goals

set realistic goals for dementia patients
It is not uncommon for a person who has dementia to want to prove to the world that they are overachievers and the disease is not pulling them down.

This may lead a person to become over-ambitious where they want to handle more than they can chew in regards to day-day activities.

When you find that you cannot do all the things you set out to it can be frustrating and you might even fall into depression.

For this reason, it is important to set realistic goals so that you only focus on things you can do and complete without too much struggle.

Seek help when necessary

Remember that it is okay to ask for help from professional caregivers, family, or friends when you are in need.

When you decide to take up any task, give yourself adequate time to complete it first so that you are not always rushing into new tasks creating more confusion.

Most importantly, do not pressure yourself to be successful. Accept that there are things you were once able to do in the past that you can no longer complete at present.

It is better to focus all your attention on the things you can control, rather than spending hours on the ones you cannot control. Even as people are helping, make sure that they are not taking over.

The people around you might end up offering more help than you need which will leave you with nothing to do.

9. Coping At Work

coping at work
During the initial stages of the disease, a person living with dementia may choose to continue working.

If you choose to take this route, it is important to let your boss know about your current health situation if you are employed.

Employers have a legal duty to take necessary steps to ensure you can continue working without too much difficulty.

This can include simplifying routines, changing work schedules, or availing technology like a computerized diary that will remind you of meetings and deadlines.

If you do not want to continue working, first research on matters pertaining to pension and other benefits you are eligible for before leaving the workforce.

This way, you will not be short-changed in any way.

10. Go for Regular Hearing, Eyesight and Dental Checks

go for regular hearing eyesight and dental checks
Having dementia most of the time means that you will also experience sensory loss. This makes it hard for you to make sense of the world.

Because of this, you must regularly schedule oral, hearing, and eyesight checks to live well with dementia.

Ideally, you should consult a professional who has experience supporting persons with the illness.

During these visits, your doctor may recommend the use of hearing aids or glasses.

Do not avoid doctors

You should never ignore dental checks because poor oral hygiene can, at times, affect your eating and drinking abilities.

At home, you should also take care of your dental health by brushing your teeth at least two times a day, flossing, and eating healthy foods that will not lead to cavities and other oral health problems.

If you are using dentures, ensure that they are comfortable. You can always set reminders to guide you on the times to remove and wear them.

How to Help People With Dementia Remain Independent

how to help people with dementia remain independent

When caring for someone with dementia, it can be challenging to get the right balance between being helpful and supportive and allowing your loved one to retain their independence for as long as possible.

According to Dementia Carers Count, there are currently 700,000 people in the UK (15.7 million in the US) who care for someone with dementia, with 40% of these carers looking after their loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Unfortunately, there is no manual for carers and most people who look after someone with dementia are simply trying to do their best on any given day.

However, trying to ensure that your loved one’s overall wellbeing is looked after while at the same time trying to help them maintain their dignity, confidence and self-esteem can be difficult.

Staying Independent with Dementia

That being said, with the right support, advice and guidance, carers can ensure that the person they look after is both safe and able to remain independent.

If you are personally struggling to help your loved one with dementia to retain their independence, the below practical steps should ensure that you are able to offer the right support without being overpowering.

Dementia medication made simple

dementia medication made simple
One of the most prolific issues amongst families who care for relatives with dementia is medication adherence.

In fact, recent studies have shown that people living with dementia only manage to take the correct dosage of their prescribed pills 11% of the time.

Furthermore, due to the complexity of dementia medication and the fact that many people living with dementia also suffer from a wide range of other medical conditions and behavioral issues, it is crucial that carers and patients alike are able to effectively manage their medication.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem, yet many families who are affected by dementia are unaware of it.

The dementia aid in question is the automated pill dispenser.

This product is specifically designed to assist people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as those who are visually or mentally impaired, by reminding them to take their medication in a highly specialized and effective way.

With the ability to set up to 6 daily audio and visual alarms and a fully automatic lock, this handy device is perfect for helping dementia patients to feel in control of their medication and retain their sense of independence.

Furthermore, it gives carers peace of mind that their loved ones are not forgetting to take their dementia medication, providing one less element of dementia care for them to worry about.

You can also find several other medication management products for people with dementia including:

  • Vibrating alarms watches
  • Timers
  • Pill boxes of various sizes and capacities
  • Pill grinders

The power of physical activity

Everyone knows the importance of regular exercise for maintaining good physical health, yet not many are aware of the link between physical activity and brain health.

As a part of Age UK’s “Staying Sharp Series”, The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) examined the evidence around achieving a brain-healthy lifestyle including the beneficial effects of regular physical activity.

Help people with dementia remain independent

The results were clear. A physically active lifestyle, as in one that incorporates movement into daily activities, lowers the risk of decline in thinking skills as you age.

Furthermore, “purposeful” exercise, meaning exercise that involves moderate to vigorous exertion, results in beneficial changes in both brain structure and brain function.

What does this mean for people with dementia?

Fortunately, for those that have dementia and are already experiencing a decline in their cognitive skills, exercise can be beneficial too, helping to combat changes in the brain that are associated with this disease.

In terms of specific exercises, there are several activities that are suitable for people in the early or middle stages of dementia including:

Remember that activities such as these can not only help dementia patients to stay physically and mentally independent for longer, but they also encourage social interaction which is vital for their overall confidence and self-esteem.

Plus, it can help to lower their stress levels, and yours as a carer.

Making home modifications

making home modifications for dementia independence
In terms of practical steps that you can take to help your loved one with dementia retain their independence, making modifications to their home is arguably one of the most crucial.

The way in which their home is designed and laid out can have a massive impact on how someone with dementia is able to carry out daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and even just getting around the home safely and with minimal effort.

Fortunately, as a carer or family member, there are several modifications that you can make to ensure your loved one is both comfortable and safe in their own home.

Improve lighting

If you are concerned about the risk of falls or confusion, it can be a good idea to evaluate the lighting in the home.

You want to avoid too many shadows and reflections and reduce glare where possible as all of these can cause disorientation in someone with dementia.

Try and embrace natural light where possible by leaving the curtains open all day, avoiding blinds and cutting back any overbearing trees or hedges in the garden that are blocking the windows.

In terms of technology, you could invest in some automatic light sensors that will instantly turn on the lights when someone walks past them.

Reduce noise

Excessive noise can be distressing for people with dementia, especially if they rely on a hearing aid. Therefore, you should try and eliminate unwanted sounds and background noise where possible.

For example, turn off the television or radio when no-one is watching it, put rugs down if you have wood or laminate flooring and pull the curtains closed in the evenings.

Use labeling

If you find your loved one often gets confused when navigating their way around their home, displaying clear labels or signs can be extremely effective.

When creating signs you should ensure that they are understandable, are accompanied by a corresponding image and that they contrast in terms of color with the background that they are placed on.

Make the flooring safe

Trips and falls are a real worry for carers with people living with dementia three times more likely to suffer a hip fracture when they fall.

Therefore, it is crucial that you ensure their flooring is as safe as possible.
Ways in which you can make flooring more secure include:

  • Avoiding rugs or mats that pose a tripping hazard
  • Avoiding shiny or reflective flooring
  • Choosing a color that contrasts with the walls

When carrying out any of the above modifications it is important to be mindful of your loved one, as people with dementia can become distressed by changes to their routine or home environment.

Try not to make too many changes at once and involve your relative in the process through active communication and addressing any of their worries or concerns.

If you would like more information on how to make your home dementia-friendly, the Alzheimer’s Society has created a handy booklet full of top tips that you can download online or request a copy to be sent to you in the post.

Take advantage of technology

In recent years dementia-related technology has come a long way with a plethora of helpful dementia aids that can help your loved one retain their independence.

Known as “assistive technology”, the below innovations will not only promote self-reliance in someone with dementia but will also help to keep them safe in their own home.

Dementia clocks

People with dementia can become easily confused concerning the time of day and often cannot determine between day and night.

Dementia clocks are a great way to help your loved one with their routine, providing a clear and simple way for them to distinguish the time.

There are many different types of dementia clocks available with some that show the day, date and time, some that depict day and night and others that simply show the day of the week for those in the later stages of dementia.

Hydration cups

Dehydration is a common problem in elderly people in general but it is even more of a concern in people with dementia.

There are several reasons why someone with dementia can become dehydrated including:

  • They forget to drink fluids or forget where they have left their drink
  • An inability or difficulty swallowing
  • An inability to communicate that they are thirsty
  • Medications that cause frequent urination
  • Limited mobility

hydration cups

Elderly people are recommended to drink 2-3 pints of water a day, which is equivalent to 6 cups of tea, yet people with dementia regularly do not drink this much leading to common signs of dehydration including nausea, headaches and persistent fatigue.

Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of hydration cups such as the Droplet.

Designed in the same shape as a mug or cup to allow users to enjoy a sense of normality, these cups work by alerting the owner when they have not drunk for a while using both subtle flashing lights and recorded audio messages.

Communication aids

One of the key factors in helping someone with dementia to remain independent is ensuring that they do not become cut off from the outside world.

As the disease progresses, many dementia patients will prefer the comfort and familiarity of their own home, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still stay connected with their family and friends.

Adapted telephones are a dementia aid that provides a simple way for people to stay in contact with their loved ones, with the ability to pre-program their most frequently dialed numbers and larger buttons for ease of use.

You may also want to show your loved one how to use Skype and FaceTime so that they can video call any family members or friends who live too far away to visit frequently.

Other technological innovations for dementia patients you may want to look into include:

  • Location tracking devices
  • Personal alarms
  • Automated temperature, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Memo minders

The bottom line

Finding ways to help your loved one to retain their independence, confidence and self-esteem is vital both for their overall wellbeing and your own.

Nobody likes to admit it but being a carer to someone with dementia is hard work.

Of course, it can also be massively rewarding and helping your partner, parent or friend when they need it most is arguably one of the most meaningful things you ever do.

That being said, there is no shame in admitting that you need help.

Whether that involves utilizing the latest technology to help your loved one manage their own condition or using an automated product to take the pressure off of you, even if just concerning one daily task.

Be sure to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the person you are caring for and focus on their abilities as their condition progresses.

Encourage them to participate as much as possible but don’t be afraid to step in when necessary.

Whether you live with someone with dementia such as a partner or spouse, or you help care for a parent who lives alone, helping them to keep their independence for as long as possible will result in them leading a happier, healthier and more stress-free life.

Follow by Email