Day to Day Living
Ways to Stay Healthy
If you have been diagnosed with dementia, you can continue to do lots of things and even take up new hobbies and interests.
While a diagnosis is challenging to come to terms with, it is essential 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.
Keeping as well as possible can help to manage your symptoms and help you to live well day-to-day. Talk to your doctor about the suggestions below.
Keeping active can help your quality of life by being independent and can help you stay social. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, and it should be something you enjoy. There are several 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
You can avail of many services to help keep you active such as social clubs, daycare centres and Alzheimer cafes. To find out what services are in your area, click here.
Keep your brain active
Exercise your brain during your day to keep it stimulated. Pick things that you enjoy or that interest you, such as:
- word games and crosswords,
- number games and sudoko,
- art and crafts,
- playing an instrument,
- hobbies such as woodwork, building models, cooking or card games, and
- join a club or volunteer in the community.
Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. Limit the amount of food you eat that contains a lot of fat, salt and sugar. What is good for the heart is good for the brain.
For more information on how to stay healthy, download and read our resource ‘Practical tips for living well with dementia‘ or call our National Helpline on 1800 341 341 to get a copy posted to you.
Dad loves the garden, he can't mow the grass anymore, but we often water the plants or pot up new ones; he is still teaching me how to look after them!
Helpling your memory
If you find it difficult to remember things, there are many ways you can help yourself. Different things will help different people. You can choose the ones that suit you; some examples include:
- Follow a routine – Use routines and daily habits to help give your day a clear structure. This routine will help you remember what you need to do
- Use lists or a diary – Make lists or keep a diary to help you keep track of your routine, for example, the things you need to do or have already done. Keep the lists or journal in a place that is easy to see or that you check each day – so that it becomes part of your daily routine.
- Use a wallboard or calendar – Many people find a wipe-clean board, blackboard or wall calendar in their kitchen helpful. You and your family can write down important things about a particular day, and you can then check what you need to do.
Communicating with others
It is essential 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. Dementia can affect how you participate in conversations and express yourself. Some tips to help include:
- If you have trouble finding words, tell people. They can help by making suggestions or giving you more time to find the word yourself.
- Check with them if you have trouble taking in what people are saying. Repeat back what you think they said. Some people write keywords in a notebook to help them to keep track.
- Stress and tiredness can make communication more difficult. Take a rest or ask for help if you need to. Plan for social events. Is there a quiet space you can go to during the event if you need to? Or can you take an extra rest beforehand?
For more information on how to communicate with others, download and read our resource ‘Practical tips for living well with dementia‘ or call our National Helpline on 1800 341 341 to get a copy posted to you.
You are still the same person; you need to take things day by day.
Using equipment and technology
Equipment and technology can help you to live more independently. They can also help to provide support and reassurance and can 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 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.
For further information:
- Speak with an occupational therapist. Your doctor or public health nurse may be able to help you to arrange an appointment.
- Read our book ‘Practical steps to support your independence‘ booklet which is a for people with dementia and their families
- Contact our National Helpline by calling 1800 341 341 or email [email protected]
- There are a number of memory libraries and memory resource rooms which have assistive technology products on display. Click here find a list of memory libraries in Ireland
I kept leaving the house without my keys. I visited a memory library and the occupational therapist was great, I got one of the voice prompters, Every time I walk past it by the front door it say: 'have you got your keys?'. It's a great help.