Day to Day Living

Keeping Active

People with dementia can continue to do lots of things and even take up new hobbies and interests.

While a diagnosis is extremely difficult to come to terms with, it is important to try to focus on the positive. Get out and about and continue to do the things you and your loved one enjoy doing.

I love my walks, I try to get out every day, it really helps me especially if I feel a bit low..... I feel so much better afterwards.

Anonymous

Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day. Build this up gradually if you are not used to exercise. Check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.  Keep it interesting; try different things and things you enjoy.

Go out of the house as often as possible...for walks, to church, concerts. Go on the bus, Luas and Dart for spins.

Joe, Dublin.

With the right support, a person with dementia can continue to do most things in the early stages. As the condition progresses, some activities may no longer be possible, but there are many things you both can do together and separately.

Dad loves the garden, he can't mow the grass any more but we often water the plants or pot up new ones, he is still teaching me how to look after them!

Anonymous

Keeping active can help your quality of life by being independent and can help you stay social. There are a number of activities you can do including

  • Exercises such as swimming, dancing or going for a walk
  • Getting out in the community such as going to your local café for tea, visiting the local garden centre or the local pub
  • Doing activities around the house such as gardening or cooking
  • Games to keep the brain active including puzzles, card games, chess or a jigsaw

There are a number of services you can avail of to help keep you active such as social clubs, day care centres and Alzheimer cafes.

Driving and dementia

A diagnosis of dementia may not mean you need to stop driving straight away. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, there are certain steps you need to take. Talk to your doctor about these steps and your doctor can guide you on each one.

  • Inform your insurance company

All car insurance policies require that you tell the insurance company of a change to your health status.

This includes a diagnosis of dementia. If you do not do this, your insurance policy may not be valid.

  • Inform your driving licence service

It is your responsibility to tell the National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) about your diagnosis. You need to do this in person, and they recommend that you make an appointment.

  • Complete an ‘on-road’ driving assessment

Your insurance company and your doctor may ask you to complete an ‘on-road’ driving assessment. This is not like the driving test you take to get your full driving licence.

Normally, for an ‘on-road’ assessment, an assessor accompanies you as you drive around familiar routes in your local area. The assessor will focus on your ability to drive safely and competently. Following your assessment, the assessor will write a report.

Connecting with others

It is important to stay connected with people and socialise so you do not feel isolated and alone. Talking to people about what you are going through can help you cope with what is going on for you. Below are some tips you can use to connect with others:

  • Keep in touch with your family and friends and with any clubs or hobbies you have. You could even try out new hobbies, join new groups such as social clubs or attend an Alzheimer café.
  • Talk to people every day – family, friends, and neighbours. Stay in touch by phone, email or by arranging to meet people. Talk to your health professionals or call the National Helpline.
  • Arrange outings – for an afternoon, a day or overnight- whatever suits you. Include your family and friends; arrange a meal or a trip to the cinema or even a walk in the park or a chat over coffee and cake!
  • Use the internet – there are lots of websites to share your views and ideas – websites about areas that interest you (gardening, books, art) or websites about dementia.

We really look forward to our social club every week, we have met such lovely new people...we have such fun...

person with dementia and his wife

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can help support and enable you to live more independently, provide support and reassurance and reduce the risk of accidents.

Different technologies will suit different people and assistive technology will not suit everyone. You may need to try different options to find the solution that suits you.

Assistive technology can help you be independent and to help you manage daily life. These include the following:

  • Use routines and daily habits so that you have structure to your day. This will help you remember what you need to do.
  • Make lists or keep a diary to help you keep track of the things you need to do, or have already done. Keep the list in a place that is easy to see or that you check every day – so that it becomes part of your daily routine.
  • Many people find it helpful to have a wipe-clean board, blackboard or a wall calendar in their kitchen. You and your family can write down important things about any particular day and you can then check this easily.
  • Put things you use regularly in the same place where they are easy to see. This will help you to keep track of things like keys, glasses or a diary.

Assistive technology products that give you prompts and reminders can help you stay independent and support you as you go about your daily life. They can be of particular use if you find you:

  • forget where you put things;
  • forget to do things; and
  • have difficulty remembering how to do certain things.

Looking for a product or device?

The following websites have lists of products and details about who you can order from

Assist Ireland: provides lists of known suppliers for different types of products. Assist Ireland’s website also contains information documents on how to choose products.

Dementia Circle: Funded by The Alzheimer Society in Scotland, this website has reviews from people with dementia and their families who have tested products; they also have helpful information sheets.

AT Dementia: provides information about assistive technology products. The website in based in England but many of suppliers listed deliver to Ireland. The site has lots of information leaflets to help you make decisions about what technology works for you.

Assistive Technology Memory Libraries in Ireland

There are a number of memory libraries and memory resource rooms which have assistive technology products on display.

You can arrange a visit by contacting the library you wish to visit.  The libraries are run by the Health Service Executive, HSE. Most have an occupational therapist who can meet with you to discuss your needs.

Memory libraries in Ireland

As part of the National Dementia Strategy, The National Dementia Office and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are working to open more memory libraries and memory resource rooms in Ireland. As they are opened, the locations and contact details will be available on this page or by calling our National Helpline on 1800 341 341.

Need help?
Call the National Helpline
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