Living with dementia in Cambridge
In the UK there are believed to be approximately 120,000 people who live on their own with dementia. What matters is that these individuals can live well with dementia. With the right support and strategies in place, this is entirely possible.
Given that 85% of people would prefer to live at home for as long as possible if diagnosed with dementia, it is absolutely vital that the right advice about living with dementia is easily available. Here we cover the main aspects of daily living, and explain how different approaches are needed, once a dementia-diagnosis is in the mix.
Initial strategies to make daily life easier should focus on the home environment. The Alzheimer’s Society has a booklet on making your home dementia-friendly which gives excellent guidance. The Dementia Services Development Centre can also help. The overall aim is to make changes to compensate for the difficulties experienced, with a focus on safety.
How this is done will depend on the individual. A common approach includes using instructional signage. Colour and the elimination of reflections can be used to make the ‘flow’ of the living space less confusing and aids accessibility e.g. using plain consistent flooring rather than one which looks like real flowers. Natural lighting, and approaches to reduce shadows, is also important.
Soon after a dementia diagnosis, it is helpful to begin to develop core routines which will help over the long term. Within your routine should be healthy lifestyle elements which support your ability to live well.
Central to this is a morning routine and evening routine. Within this is ensuring a nutritionally balanced diet, taking into account symptom progression such as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Exercise, to the degree possible, should also be made part of the daily routine, for example, a walk to the shops, or seated exercises.
There are many different aspects of daily living which should form part of the everyday routine. Each of these may need particular strategies, for example washing and dressing, toileting or eating. The Alzheimer’s Society has detailed guides to aspects of daily living.
A dementia-friendly routine should pay particular attention to sleep. Keeping to a regular sleep pattern will help to reduce confusion.
It can help to write out routines and stick them up around the home.
Don’t underestimate the importance of socialisation to living well with dementia. Having a supportive and active social network will support wellbeing. As the NHS says, “Keeping in touch with people and engaging in social activities, such as going to the theatre or cinema, or being part of a walking group or choir, is good for your confidence and mental wellbeing.”
Maintaining an active social life helps prevent loneliness and isolation. Mental stimulation will also help to combat some symptoms of cognitive impairment. Having a good social life can also help ensure that those who care for you feel supported too.
92% of people living with dementia have another health condition. Taking care of your wider health following a dementia diagnosis is essential.
Make sure you have regular sight and hearing tests as sensory loss can exacerbate feelings of confusion and disorientation. Dental checks are very important. Speak with your GP about having flu and pneumonia vaccinations. Attend regular checks for long term conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Particularly take care to avoid and minimise the impact of urinary tract infections (UTIs) which can also exacerbate dementia symptoms.
Get support from Bluebird Care in Cambridgeshire
Staying independent following a dementia diagnosis, and living well at home, may in fact mean you need support. Support at home can enable you to put in place all of the strategies which allow for a meaningful and contented life despite dementia. In fact, the right support at home is often the key to living well with dementia.
At Bluebird Care Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, we know that in-home dementia care opens the door to a fulfilling, enjoyable and safe everyday life with dementia. It’s about getting the right tailored support for you. Get in touch to discuss how we can help on 01954 212881.
How to find the right care for you or your relative
1. Find your local office
Bluebird Care delivers care from locally based offices, find yours to start your care journey today.
2. Get in touch with us
Fill in our call back form or give us a call to find out how we can help you.
We’ll come out to you to find out what you or your loved one needs to help stay independent at home.
4. Care team chosen & care starts
You'll be cared for by our specially trained team to support you to remain at home for as long as possible.