Living with dementia

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Benefits of staying active

As dementia develops, it will likely impact the person’s abilities. But there will still be lots that she can enjoy doing, both individually and with others. Maintaining existing skills, as far as possible, can give her pleasure and boost her confidence. It is important to help her find activities she enjoys. These will need to be adapted to meet her changing interests and needs.

The word “activities” is often associated with structured group activities, such as bingo or exercise classes, but not everyone enjoys this type of pastime. In fact, many beneficial activities are the simple, everyday tasks we take for granted. He may enjoy these as a solitary pastime or with one other person or in a small group. Try simple activities such as taking a walk, polishing a pair of shoes, listening to the radio or looking after a pet. These can help give pleasure and bring purpose to the day.

What is good for people with dementia is often good for those who spend time with them. By helping maintain the interests of the person with dementia, family members and other caregivers may be able to follow their own interests, too. Keeping occupied and stimulated can improve quality of life for the person with dementia as well as those around him.

Benefits to the person with dementia

  • Remaining physically and mentally active can provide a welcome distraction from the stresses of the illness and can help the person focus on the positive and fun aspects of life.

  • Carrying out simple everyday tasks can help the person feel better about himself, by providing a structure to the day and a sense of achievement.

  • Some types of activity can help the person to express her feelings, for example, listening to music or keeping a journal.

Benefits to family members and caregivers

  • Boredom and frustration are the two most common causes of challenging behaviour in people with dementia. If the person with dementia is occupied and stimulated, some of this more difficult behaviour may lessen or even stop altogether.

  • Sharing an activity that you both enjoy may bring you closer together and help you find new ways to relate to each other.

  • Discovering new ways to stimulate someone with dementia can be satisfying. It may enable you and others around him to think differently about your caring role.

Last Updated: 08/31/12
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