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It is important for people with dementia to maintain an independent and active lifestyle. There are many things that family and friends can do to participate in this.

Staying Active

  • Retain an active social life and continue socialising and interacting with family and friends. It can be very beneficial to have a strong support network.
  • Continue doing enjoyable hobbies and day-to-day chores around the home, for example housework, cooking and gardening.
  • Take part in leisure activities like crafts, exercise and games. For suggestions on suitable products click here.
  • Carers should do their best to encourage the person to maintain their independence - if the person is struggling with something, try not to take over or become frustrated. Instead, encourage them to complete tasks at their own pace.
  • Consider ways of adapting popular activities to help the person avoid feeling frustrated, e.g. reading a magazine rather than a book, doing an easier crossword or jigsaw puzzle.
Helpful Tips to Encourage Independent Living

Many people with dementia can continue to live independently on their own for a considerable time and there are several practical things that can be implemented to enable this.

Home Improvements for Safety

  • Make sure the home is well lit and that there are no obvious hazards, such as loose carpets, rugs, trailing cables or unsteady furniture

  • Ensure the bathroom is a safe place, for example check the floor isn't slippery.

  • Fit safety grab rails and make sure the home is easy to manoeuvre around.

  • Contact Social Services for an assessment on how to make everyday life safer and easier.
  • Consider a Falls Prevention Assessment from Care & Repair Leeds.
Jogging the Memory
  • Use pictures or signs on doors and cupboards to remind where things are.
  • Keep a diary or calendar to remind you about day to day activities; and also prepare lists or notes, for example write down your 'things to do today'.
  • Use electronic reminders to manage medication and jog your memory.
Day-to-Day Activities
  • Retain a regular washing and personal care routine - don't be afraid to ask if you need a bit of help.
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. 'Meals on Wheels' services can be beneficial if you find that food preparation becomes difficult.
  • Keep in regular contact with family, friends and neighbours so they can help you out when necessary and check that you are managing your condition.
Carers - Looking After Yourself

If you like with and provide help and assistance to a family member of friend who has dementia, it is important to make sure you look after yourself and your own needs as well as theirs.
  • Take time to do your own thing and have a break from caring regularly.
  • Ask for help and support from relatives and friends if you need it, or contact professional organisations - see below for our list of helpful contacts.
  • Join local support groups within your community - you can find your nearest on www.leedsdirectory.org
  • If you are providing regular care for someone, ask to be assessed by your local authority to find out what support you are entitled to. See www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect for more advice.
Helpful Contacts

There are many organisations dedicated to helping people with dementia and their families by providing advice and support - please see a selection below.