A Practical Guide for Dementia

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Contents

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

Staying independent

Help yourself at home

Help yourself at home

Here we talk about some of the many practical things you can do around your home and in your daily life to keep things running smoothly. Some helpful things are extremely simple, like putting up notes to remind you to do things and labels to show where things are. Other aids, such as monitoring systems that let people know you’ve got up or gone out, are a bit more high-tech. What you need and works for you will depend on how your dementia affects you now.

Age UK publishes 'At home with dementia' which gives tips on making the whole home 'dementia friendly' and looks at all the main rooms - bathroom, kitchen and so on - where changes might be needed now or in the future. It offers a great many ideas and suggestions but you only need to do the things that will help you now. Many of the suggestions cost nothing.

Technology for dementia

Technology for dementia

There's also a lot of 'assistive technology' that can help keep you independent. Broadly, assistive technologies fall into three categories:

  • Living aids - such as pill dispensers, special utensils for eating, adapted tools for gardening
  • Stand-alone devices - such as a dementia clock or personal alarm, often battery powered
  • Telecare - devices connected to the phone to alert people elsewhere if you have a problem

You can see the sorts of things available by visiting AT Dementia, a charity that specialises in assistive technology for dementia. Some of the kit is expensive but, depending on your circumstances, similar things may be provided by social services or other organisations. Some offer a loan or trial service for certain aids.

Keeping track

Keeping track

It's a good idea to use a diary to write down times for all your appointments and things you need to do, such as taking medicine, doing shopping, putting out the rubbish. You could also use the calendar on a computer or smartphone for this - you can get a sound alert when things are due. A simple weekly timetable on a wall or noticeboard can also be a great help.

Store numbers for people you call often in your phone and keep a list of important numbers on a noticeboard. Many phones let you add pictures of people with their names and numbers to help recognition.

Switch any bills you pay onto direct debit so they can't be forgotten.

Check your smoke alarm is working, and think about fitting detectors for gas and CO2.

Carry a card with the name and phone number of someone who can be contacted if you are out and need help. You can also have this on the 'lock screen' of most smartphones where it’s known as ICE (In Case of Emergency) information.

Using the internet

Using the internet

You can use the internet for keeping in touch with people, joining supportive communities, shopping, banking, booking things - including many health appointments and repeat prescriptions. You can also play games and get entertainment, like videos, TV and radio shows, whenever you want. And if you'd like to share your experiences, you could even start a blog. Search online for 'start blogging free' and you'll find lots of easy-to-use free sites where you can set up and write what you like.

If you're not sure how to do some of these things, try the courses at Learn My Way - they are free, signing up is simple and the courses are very easy to follow.

Thanks for reading this online guide for Dementia. We hope you've learnt a little about what you can do to live well for longer.

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.