Dementia and everyday life
When one gets diagnosed with dementia; it can be quite overwhelming and they can feel quite vulnerable and insecure. However, there are things that one can do to make life to continue being as meaningful as it was before the diagnosis.
Popular phrase “Life does not end with dementia” means just that. A person with dementia can continue to be functional and enjoy their life or live independently at home.
Relationships and family
A dementia diagnosis can have a huge impact on the person and their family members. It is important that you talk to your family about your condition. Together you can establish what needs to be done going forward. A member of family may even get a Power of Attorney; to ensure all affairs are handled accordingly in any eventuality.
There are also charities or organisations that help and support families to cope better or have an understanding of how to interact and support their loved one; even more so if they are going to be their caregiver.
You can also attend meetings organised by these charities or Memory cafes and listen and share stories with other families affected.
Keep your memory stimulated with activities such as singing, reading, solving puzzles or learning a new skill or activity. Keep exercising as it helps to keep your mind sharp. Eat brain boosting foods such as those high in omega 3 or fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Maintaining social relationships have also been found to keep your mind stimulated.
There are also things you can do around the house that can help you remember such as; finding a designated place for your keys; pining notes on the wall or fridge; hang a calendar on the wall to remind you of the date and year; hang clock on the wall for time; ask for your newspaper to be delivered daily, set direct debits for all your bills so you do not forget to pay them etc.
Maintaining a social life
Due to one feeling vulnerable or insecure, this may lead to isolation. It is important for people with dementia to keep doing what they loved doing before the diagnosis. Visit friends, attend community Centre’s, go to church; get out of the house as often as possible etc. This will keep you engaged, active and stimulated.
There are also local dementia groups for those with the condition and their family, friends and carers. These have been found to be helpful as you get to chat, participate in activities and even make new friends.
We all know eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated is very important. As dementia affect people differently; some may find themselves with no appetite; which may lead to poor nutrition. Some may become dehydrated as they may simply forget to drink or find it difficult to communicate when they are thirsty. It is important then to ensure that you keep to a healthy diet and keep hydrated. It maybe that you set reminders and write times down when you have to eat or drink.
Failure to keep to a healthy diet may lead to weight loss, fatigue, more confusion and some infections.
Being physically active has proven benefits, even more so for someone with dementia. It has both physical and mental benefits and can improve one’s quality of life. There are so many activities that you can take part in such as dancing, walking and jogging. In most localities councils or charities provide a range of activities such as chair exercises, swimming, yoga, Tai Chi and so on.
Having dementia doesn’t necessarily mean one has to give up driving. However, you do need to let DVLA know that you have been diagnosed. They will carry out some assessments to ensure that you can still drive.
If you are allowed to drive; you may eventually have to give it up as the condition progresses.
In some instances, one can continue working after a diagnosis; depending on the nature of the job. If you decide to keep working it may help to ask for a reduced work load to ensure you do not get overwhelmed.
You can seek advice from disability employment advisor, or speak to your local Citizen’s Advise Bureau or Job Centre. Also make sure if you do decide to leave work that all your affairs are in order; that you will get your pension and other expected benefits.
There is also the option to volunteers if you want to keep to that working routine.
Here are links to some useful information to living well with dementia;
How to find the right care for you or your relative
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