A Practical Guide for Dementia

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Contents

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.

Social life and relationships

Keep doing things you like

Keep doing things you like

Over time you may have to make changes in the things you enjoy doing and the ways you do them. But it's best to keep doing the things you like for as long as you still enjoy them - and that might be for years. Hobbies, pastimes, clubs, classes and other leisure activities, and socialising with family and friends, all help to keep you fit, active and interested in life.

If you are a member of a club or go to classes, it's a good idea to tell the club organiser, tutor or friends you go with about your diagnosis - this will help them understand if you begin to have difficulties, such as struggling to remember people's names or follow conversations.

Try something new

Try something new

As dementia progresses, many people start to find unfamiliar places or activities stressful. With your early diagnosis, you may want to try some new things now - this can be stimulating and widen your social circle.

Doing voluntary work, for example, can give you a new sense of purpose. Studies have shown a clear link between volunteering and good mental and physical health. If this interests you, visit NCVO, the national volunteering website where you can find out about opportunities and get in touch with your local volunteer centre.

Some people find activities such as tai chi classes, group walking or yoga sessions bring them a great deal of pleasure and help keep them active.

Your closest relationships

Your closest relationships

If you have a partner, keeping up your own activities and doing things away from your partner can help ease tensions for both of you. The changes that happen in dementia can strain intimate relationships. There's no reason not to continue enjoying a fulfilling physical relationship. Sometimes, however, issues around sex and intimacy can eventually cause problems for you or your partner. You might want to find out about common difficulties now and discuss them with your partner. The Alzheimer's Society website has a section on sex and intimate relationships in dementia. You can also call their national helpline on 0300 222 11 22. Their advisers offer support to anyone with dementia, or who looks after someone with dementia, including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. Admiral Nursing Direct's helpline can also help with these sorts of issues - call 0845 257 9406 or email direct@dementiauk.org

If you find it hard to talk about these issues, or any others, you may find it easier to join a discussion in an online forum or community.

Find local groups

Find local groups

It's also a good idea to find out now about the sorts of local support groups and social facilities especially for people with dementia and their families. If you live alone, think about telling trusted neighbours or a friend who lives nearby that you have dementia in case you need to call on them for help.

Many areas have memory cafes where you can informally meet others with dementia and the people who care for them. There are also often walking groups, singing sessions and a host of other activities specifically for people with dementia and their families. Even if you don't want to join these right now, it's worth finding out about them.

You can check what's available in your area by searching on Dementia Connect or by contacting your local social services department.

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.