HELPFUL TOP TIPS
Along with the DSDC, we have formed a list of helpful hints and tips to implement into daily life for people living with dementia.
Give one instruction at a time.
Too much information at one time can be difficult to process. So instead of saying ‘Go and put your jacket and shoes on. Have you seen the car keys? Have you got your bag?’, take the steps one at a time, asking another question after the action has been completed from the last.
Eliminate background noises.
For some people with dementia, it can be hard to follow a conversation, or realise that someone is talking to you, if there’s too much background noise. Instead, if no one is watching the tv or listening to the radio, turn it off. Maybe the washing machine is making a lot of noise in the kitchen, so best to keep the door shut.
Mirrors can be frightening to those who don’t recognise themselves; they may think someone is staring at them through the window or someone has broken into their house. You can remove mirrors or add a blind or a sheet over to hide them. When it gets dark, draw the curtains as reflections in the window can also startle someone with dementia if they don’t recognise themselves.
Declutter kitchen surfaces.
Having too much out on the kitchen surfaces can be distracting and exacerbate forgetfulness. For example, if someone walks into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, having too much out on the surfaces can be overwhelming and the person may walk right back out, unsure of why they came into the kitchen in the first place. Clear away unnecessary items and leave out the important things. So, for example, if someone likes to make a cup of tea during the day leave out the necessary equipment in the uncluttered kitchen to act as visual prompts, or a plate of snacks to remind them to eat.
Keep the windows clear.
Cut back foliage or trees that block sunlight coming in through windows. Natural daylight, particularly morning light, is important to maintain our circadian rhythms. By cutting back anything blocking natural daylight, you will help regulate circadian rhythms and allow better visibility.
Regularly check lightbulbs to make sure they’re working, particularly if you only visit the person you care for through the day. It’s also worth remembering that energy saving light bulbs diminish in brightness over time, so it’s best to change these every so often.
Encourage the person with dementia to get involved, build on what they can do rather than what they can’t do. It’s easy to lose skills if we don’t keep using them, and simple activities such as folding washing or preparing dinner can be meaningful and provide a sense of achievement and involvement.