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Living well with dementia

A dementia diagnosis doesn't have to mean you stop doing things you enjoy. We've put together some tips to help you stay independent and live well for as long as possible.

Around the house

  • Follow a routine. Doing things at the same time every day or week can stimulate your memory and be reassuring for you.
  • Pin notes up. If there are things you need to do regularly, like lock the doors at night or put out the recycling, putting notes up in places that are easy to see can help remind you to do them.
  • Carry a notebook. Writing down daily tasks and specific things you want to get done each day can help you stay independent for longer. 
  • Keep things in the same place. Where possible, leave important things, like your glasses or keys, in the same place every time so that you know where to find them. 
  • Consider getting a new clock. Some people with dementia find it helpful to have clocks with large numerals, or clocks that show the date and day of the week, as well as the time.

Good to know

We have some tips on how to make your home more dementia friendly. 

Click here to find out more about dementia friendly homes

Looking after your health

  • Get your eyes tested. The NHS offer free eye tests for people over 60 every 2 years, or more often if needed.
  • Get your hearing tested. Speak to your GP about arranging a hearing test. You may be able to get free hearing aids and batteries from the NHS. Some pharmacists and opticians also offer hearing tests for free, but you’d usually need to pay for any treatment after that.
  • Have a regular dental check-up. Your dentist will let you know how often you need to be seen for a check-up depending on how healthy your teeth are.

Good to know

If you're unable to attend a clinic, dentist, or optician's due to your health, ask whether they can offer a home visit, and how to access them. 

Click here to find out about arranging eye examinations at home on the RNIB website

Interacting with others

  • Ask questions. if you don't understand or have forgotten what was said.
  • Write down important contact details. Leave this list down by the phone so that they're easier to access.
  • Stay in touch. A dementia diagnosis can feel isolating, but try to keep in touch with family and friends.
  • Carry a helpcard. Keep this in your wallet or purse – you can use it to let people know you have dementia. Your helpcard contains basic personal information and contact details in case you need assistance or if there's an emergency. 
  • Make sure others don't take over. They might think they're being helpful by doing as much as possible for you, but do what you can for as long as you can.

Good to know

Alzheimer's Society has helpful information about helpcards on their website. You can also order a helpcard on their website. 

Click here to find out more about helpcards on the Alzheimer's Society's website

At work

  • Tell your employer about your dementia diagnosis. If you're still working, it's a good idea to tell your employer about your diagnosis so they can help to you continue working. They have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to help you to continue working. This could include changing your work schedule, simplifying your routine, or using technology such as a computerised diary to remind you of deadlines and meetings. 
  • Get financial advice. If you decide to stop working, get financial advice on your pension and any benefits you may eligible for first. 

If you're in the armed forces, work on a plane or ship, or your job involves driving, you must tell your employer if you're diagnosed with dementia. 

Good to know

MoneyHelper offers free advice to over 50s through their Pension Wise service. You can book a Pension Wise appointment to get free financial advice about your pension(s) on their website.

Click here to book your free Pension Wise appointment on the MoneyHelper website

Out and about

  • Tell the DVLA. If you drive, you must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and your insurance company about your dementia diagnosis. You may not have to stop driving straight away. If they decide you can continue driving they'll review this decision, usually after a year.
  • Think about your holidays. When booking a holiday think about whether you want to travel to somewhere new or somewhere familiar. There are specialist companies, like Dementia Adventure, that offer package holidays for people with dementia. Click here to visit Dementia Adventure's website.
  • Try to stay active. Physical activity isn't just good for you – it can also improve your mood and lift your spirits. Walking, swimming, dancing and gentle exercise classes are all good options. If these kinds of activity are difficult for you to do, you can also try some simple chair-based exercises that you can add to your daily routine.
  • Get help with the things you enjoy. A dementia diagnosis doesn't have to mean that you stop doing things you enjoy doing. For example, if you like gardening, but you're finding it harder than you used to, you can get in touch with Thrive. They offer advice on practical solutions, such as choosing specially adapted tools, to make gardening easier.

Good to know

Dementia Adventure aim to support people with dementia to get outdoors and experience the benefits of nature with supported holidays.

Click here to find out more about supported holidays on Dementia Adventure's website

Keeping yourself busy

  • Listen to music and the radio. Listening to music or to the radio can have a calming effect and can bring back fond memories. It's also easier to concentrate on than television, which can be helpful for someone with dementia. You could try using playlists to help with certain moods or memories. 
  • Try short stories or newspapers. If it's getting harder to follow the storylines in books, try reading short stories or newspaper articles. Keep doing crosswords and Sudoku puzzles if you enjoy them, and don't worry if it takes you longer to complete them or if you need to switch to an easier version.
  • Adapt recipes to suit you. If you're finding it harder to manage the recipes you used to use, try to adapt them to suit you. For example, if you find it difficult to concentrate on a recipe with lots of different steps, look for a shorter one.
See what sort of dementia support your local Age UK runs


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Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Apr 15 2024

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