Promoting independence

No matter the task, there are a variety of ways to promote the person with dementia's participation in their own daily life. By encouraging independence, the person's ability to function will increase, as well as their confidence.

Strategies that increase or maintain independence in people with dementia can also lower the level of stress experienced by the caregiver.

Below are some things to keep in mind as dementia progresses and the person you are caring for needs more support.

Encourage physical activity

By maintaining flexibility and strength, the person with dementia may be able to continue their daily tasks for longer. Try to encourage some form of physical activity on a daily basis, such as going for a walk around the neighbourhood or doing some simple stretches.

Focus on abilities

Even as dementia progresses into the later stages, there may still be some activities which the person can continue to do on their own. Encourage them to participate as much as possible, even if they can only complete one part of a task independently. For example:
  • If they are able to put on their shoes but cannot tie the laces, consider changing to slip-on shoes or ones with Velcro. 
  • If preparing a meal becomes too challenging, ask the person to help with a part of the task, such as washing vegetables or setting the table. 
  • Remember that some days are better than others. If the person has difficultly completing a particular task, perhaps they can try again on another day.

Adapt your home

As we age, most of us would prefer to live in our own homes for as long as possible. This is still true for those who are living with dementia. There are many ways to adapt one's home environment to make it easier and safer for the person to continue day-to-day living. Learn more about home adaptations (PDF).

Additional resources


Last Updated: 11/08/2017