Dementia: Top tips for caring for a loved one with the condition

Dementia is a heartbreaking disease that affects around 850,000 people in the UK. The number of people being diagnosed with dementia is set to rise by a staggering one million people in 2025. Now more than ever, people are dealing with dementia, either with themselves or for a loved one. It can be extremely difficult to watch someone lose their basic functions and all memory. What are the best tips for caring for someone with dementia?

Tips for helping care for someone with dementia:

Communicate

Make eye contact when you speak, speak slowly, listen carefully and watch your body language. Be patient, understanding and keep a smile on your face.

Assistive technology

Products, gadgets or systems that will help support and enable a dementia sufferer to live more independently will make things much easier.

Living in a technological world there are many devices out there to help a person feel safer and not so alone.

Maintain skills

Encouraging the person with dementia to use their skills and offering help where you can will help the sufferer feel more independent.

Demonstrating, guiding and providing verbal explanations for them to complete tasks will make them feel good about themselves.

Connect with others

It is crucial to stay connected with other people and socialise so there is less isolation and loneliness.

Joining a social club, support group or even speaking to health professions will make a big difference not only for the carer, but also for the sufferer.

The Alzheimer National Helpline is available for confidential support.

Early symptoms of dementia include:

Subtle short-term memory changes

Trouble remembering things and losing the memory are early symptoms of dementia. The changes are often subtle and include forgetting what they had for breakfast and misplacing keys.

Difficulty with words

Struggling with communication is another major early symptom of dementia. Difficulty explaining something or not being able to find the right words could be early dementia.

Mood changes

Changes in a person’s mood such as depression or anxiety could mean early dementia as a person often finds it difficult to recognise themselves.

A person might experience a shift in mood and is due to the condition affecting judgement.

Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and stressful. But with the right support, it can be rewarding and often satisfying

NHS

Not being able to perform normal tasks

When there is a change in the ability to perform normal daily tasks it could be an indication of dementia.

Difficulty planning things and not being able to understand time are a few examples of early dementia.

Repetition

A person often repeating themselves is a common symptom of early dementia and this is because of memory loss and general behavioural changes.

The NHS added: “Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and stressful.

“But with the right support, it can be rewarding and often satisfying. It’s important to remember that your needs as a carer are as important as the person you’re caring for and you should share your experiences with other carers.”

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