Helping people to live with dementia

Through its work, the alliance is hoping to bring together the best ideas to help people to live well with dementia.

Living in familiar surroundings and maintaining regular routines can be reassuring, and with the right support can often help the person maintain their independence for a longer period of time. When a person with dementia moves, either to live with a relative or to enter a care home, they may feel disorientated and experience further confusion, so there are some clear benefits for enabling the person to stay at home while this is still practical. Some examples include:

A woman with dementia was receiving some assisted living help to stay at home. However, she kept switching off her heating, even when it was very cold, and her family and helpers were concerned that she may have to go into care. In the end, a simple voice recording device of her daughter reminding her not to turn the heating off because it was cold was set up so that each time the door to the cupboard containing the heating controls was opened it was automatically triggered. It was a success and helped her to stay in her own home for longer.

It is common for people with dementia to end up in hospital because of a fall. This often happens when they are going to bed because they fail to recognise subtle differences in colour between the bed and the floor. Putting on a red duvet cover can help to stop this because it is easier for them to recognise it as the bed.

Sometimes eating properly can be a problem. A large plate of food can prove daunting and it has been shown that it can help to offer smaller portions.

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A very wide range of people come into contact with people with dementia. The alliance wants to investigate if there is a checklist it can give to people to help them know what to say and how to help.

People with dementia can become confused and wander from their homes. There are already instances in the county where they have been given global positioning system (GPS) devices. They trigger an alarm if the wearer goes outside a set boundary and can help families to track them down.

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