Do something kind for someone with dementia

Many of us know someone who is living with Dementia and whilst sometimes it can feel difficult to know the best way to help, there are a number of small things we can do to make a positive difference in someone’s day. Our Audley Care team offer Dementia care and have put together some suggestions on how to bring a little, or a lot, of joy to a person living with Dementia.

Take a trip down memory lane

Many people living with Dementia retain their long-term memory, so reminiscing on the past can often be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Put the kettle on and dig out old photo albums, watch family videos, or simply have a chat about their past memories. This is not only a way to bring a smile to someone’s face, but also to stimulate their brain and give you the chance to know more about your loved one’s past.

At Audley we host Memory Lane Café across our villages which may include music, games, sensory activities, and speakers across a range of subjects. Events like this are designed to help those living with Dementia or any type of cognitive impairment feel at ease and offers their loved ones some respite.

Michelle Forbes, Care Operations Manager, Audley Care

Do something they love

This might seem simple but it is something that can be overlooked while you're trying to keep your loved one calm and safe. A stimulating activity can soothe stress and anxiety. Ask your loved one about things they enjoy or enjoyed in the past and find a way to incorporate this into your day together. This might involve taking part in their favourite hobby, visiting their favourite place or encouraging them to choose some music or a film to enjoy together.

Spend time in the great outdoors

Boredom can often be a problem for someone living with Dementia so getting outside means an opportunity to get some fresh air and explore new places. Outdoor activities could include anything from a spot of gardening, a walk in the local park, or venturing further afield to stately homes or botanical gardens. This might be particularly special to your loved one if they are someone who has always appreciated nature.

Take to the kitchen for some healthy cooking

Eating healthy balanced meals is important to maintain general health and wellbeing. It also puts your mind at rest that your loved one is getting the right nutrition. Cooking is therefore a wholesome way to ensure that your loved one is eating a nutritional meal as well as an opportunity to have fun together in the kitchen. Choose a (not too complicated) recipe that you both love and then get to work dividing the jobs and responsibilities. Give your loved one the freedom and independence to carry out their role whilst you are on hand if they need help. You can then sit down and enjoy your delicious meal and a chat together.

Encourage some light-hearted exercise

Physical activity can help to regulate sleep as well as being a proven stress-reliever. Enjoy some exercise together as a way for your loved one to reap these benefits whilst enjoying time in your company. You could go for a walk or swim, or even make use of the low impact machines at your local gym. You will almost certainly be able to find local group and health clubs with classes that are tailored to older people and those living with Dementia.

Do your best to listen

Sometimes someone with Dementia might just want to sit and talk. This is particularly important at times when they might be feeling anxious or worried. Taking the time to sit and chat with your loved one can be the best way to make them feel heard and for you to get an understanding of what they’re going through. Try and make this a regular occurrence, perhaps with tea and cake so it becomes an anticipated routine.

Listening and participating in light-hearted conversation, whatever it may be about, can make a world of difference in that moment.

Dementia refers to a group of syndromes that are linked to the decline in someone’s cognitive function. Although there are many types of dementia, the most widely recognised are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Whilst the causes of Alzheimer’s are less understood, vascular dementia is linked to changes in blood vessels.

At Audley Care our carers are not only incredibly compassionate and understanding, but also highly trained and experienced in Dementia care. The A Walk Through Dementia App is a free virtual reality app on Android and iOS, which helps carers and loved ones visualise how it feels to live with Dementia.

If you feel like you or someone you know might benefit from some extra assistance, contact your local Audley Care branch for help and support. We can offer a free care assessment to give you peace of mind for your loved one.