How to Improve Your Quality of Life When Living with Dementia
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can make you feel that life will never be the same again and while that’s true in some ways, living well with dementia is a very achievable situation for many people post-diagnosis. If you’ve got as far as seeking medical advice and a diagnosis, you and your loved ones will already have gone through some difficult times, involving worry, frustration and concern about the future. Once you have received your diagnosis though you can begin planning, and you should receive advice and guidance about how to do that from your community healthcare team and the specialist who diagnosed you.
It’s important though that everyone understands that you’re still you, even after you’ve been diagnosed, you just struggle with memory, concentration and planning. Dementia does not define you, and it is perfectly possible to live well with dementia, especially if you take advantage of the many types of support that now exist to help you and your loved ones navigate your dementia journey.
Accessing local services
When you’re newly diagnosed with dementia it can be difficult to know where to turn, however, after your diagnosis you should be given the opportunity to spend time in sessions to help you come to terms with this next stage of your life. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “Most memory services also offer sessions, running for several weeks after diagnosis, at which the person and those close to them can talk through the next steps in more detail and receive further written information.”
These sessions can be beneficial to you and your loved ones and can help you learn more about living well with dementia through planning, discussing whether medication is likely to be beneficial, and accessing local services. Charitable organisations will also offer a variety of activities in your local area that both you and your loved ones can access, meaning that you both remain supported and reduce the risk of becoming socially isolated.
It can be tempting once you have received your diagnosis to stay at home as much as possible and shut yourself off to the outside world, especially if you are also living with depression, however accessing activities in your local community can be a vital lifeline for both you and your loved ones as you come to terms with your diagnosis. Many organisations such as Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society run activities in communities across the UK and even if they’re not in your area, you can access befriending services either face-to-face, online or by telephone.
If you are a fan of the arts then many local theatres and other venues are becoming more understanding about the challenges that people with dementia can face, for instance, The Courtyard Theatre in Hereford recently became the UK’s first dementia-friendly Arts Centre by partnering with their local Alzheimer’s Society branch and joining the Dementia Action Alliance, an organisation that Helping Hands is also proud to be a member of.
How Does Dementia Affect Your Life Expectancy?
As with any life-limiting disease, when you’ve received a diagnosis of dementia it’s totally understandable that yours and your loved ones’ minds will start imagining how much time you have left to spend together, however it’s much more important to try and enjoy life and focus on the day-to-day successes and challenges, rather than looking ahead too far and wondering what will happen.
Of course, planning for the future is important, as conversations will need to be had about what your eventual care preferences are likely to be and whether you’d rather remain at home or move into a care home, however those plans can be finalised, shared with your loved ones if you wish, and then put away until they’re needed.
By focussing on each day as it comes, remaining as physically and mentally active as you possibly can and taking part in local groups and coordinated activities, you will find that you can live well with dementia for longer than you’d perhaps first thought possible. As the NHS website puts it, “With the right help and support when you need it, many people can, and do, live well with dementia for several years.”
Making Your Life with Dementia More Comfortable at Helping Hands
Helping Hands has been established for over 30 years, and in that time we’ve cared for thousands of customers living with dementia, whether Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, or one of the many other types that make up over 100 varieties. We understand dementia and are considered a dementia specialist because of our expertise and knowledge around the subject, with many of our staff members being highly knowledgeable, well-qualified and with years of hands-on experience. While the customers’ wellbeing always remains our number one priority, we also understand how difficult dementia can be on those around them, so we make sure we also support our customers’ loved ones when it’s a particularly difficult day or they just need someone to talk to.
Remaining at home for your dementia care has benefits that go far beyond the convenience of not having to find a suitable care home, as being around familiar people, pets and possessions can help to reduce confusion and associated anxiety in many cases. We can provide dementia support across the whole of England and Wales on either a visiting or live-in basis, and because we tailor our care packages to our customers’ individual circumstances you will always remain at the centre of your care journey, with carers coming to your home and delivering dementia care to the very highest standards.
To find out more about our dementia care services in your area, please call our friendly customer care team seven days a week, or alternatively, contact us via our website and we’ll be happy to call you back.
Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on November 23, 2021