This week it’s Dementia Action Week, a week dedicated to showing support for individuals living with dementia. Charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society are encouraging people to take action to help anyone with dementia, whether it be a loved one, friend, family member, neighbour or a passing stranger. By taking action, people can learn more about dementia, offer help to anyone struggling and make sure that no one living with dementia is lonely.
Talking to people who have dementia is a simple yet important way of making sure they aren’t alone, if they need any help with anything and also letting them know that they can talk about any problems they might be struggling with. People may find it difficult to communicate with their loved ones, especially if they no longer recognise them due to their dementia, but it’s important to remember that they are still the same person and talking to them can help massively.
Have patience when talking to someone with dementia. It may be difficult for them to understand the conversation or remember who you are, depending on the stage of their dementia, but becoming impatient and stressed only makes them more confused and upset. Try to understand that dementia can cause people to repeat things and say things they might not usually say, and be patient if this happens.
Invite out someone who has dementia, even if it’s just a walk down the street or in a local park. By inviting a friend, family or loved one out with you, it helps to reduce their loneliness and encourages them to engage in activities that they enjoy. Having some familiar company and visiting places from their childhood is a good way to help them reminisce about their youth.
Be there for dementia carers too, as it can be difficult to look after someone with dementia without support. Carers often provide full-time care and it can be tiring and stressful caring for another person, as well as it being easy to forget about their own needs. If you know someone who is a dementia carer, check up on them to see how they’re doing and if they want to talk about their feelings.
Ask questions about dementia. By doing this, you can learn more about the condition and how it can affect people, as well as the different stages of it. Learning about dementia can help you to understand what causes it and how to spot the early signs, which is highly important if you recognise these signs in someone you know. Sites like Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK have plenty of helpful information to help you learn about dementia.