Dementia affects so many people directly and through their parents, relatives, colleagues and friends. It can be a heart-breaking condition and yet there are very simple things we can do to help.
You can make a difference by signing up to become a Dementia Friend. Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society joined forces last year to help everyone join together to help people with dementia live well.
BritMums worked with Dementia Friends, asking bloggers to share their personal stories of the impact of dementia and tips on how the lives of sufferers and their carers can be made that little bit easier. (Bloggers were compensated for their time. All opinions are their own.)
How becoming a Dementia Friend helps you and others
Becoming a Dementia Friend means gaining an understanding of the challenges faced by people with dementia and learning a few useful tips to help make life better for those living with the condition. To become a friend, individuals watch a short online film or attend an information session, which explains what dementia is, how it affects individuals and what people can do to help those living with the disease.
There’s no age limit to becoming a Dementia Friend, and recently Alzheimer’s Society has launched a new section on its website aimed at teachers, youth group leaders, young people and parents, to help them teach and talk to children about Dementia.
Positive personal experiences with dementia sufferers
Erica shared a beautiful photograph of her child with her grandmother. She explained how her grandmother loved seeing children and you can really see that in the photograph.
For, Iona it was important to remember her Granny for who she was. Iona would have liked to have had more information on the condition whilst she was alive.
Claire’s Nan, now deceased, taught her that true love never dies. She feels more prepared to deal with a recent diagnosis in the family and shares how she wants to support her children to understand the issue.
Becky talked about her work with dementia sufferers and how it was a positive and uplifting experience as it alleviates the isolation often associated with the condition and people had fun.
Little things that can help
Keeping things simple and showing patience also help enormously. Labelling things can be helpful from photographs to everyday items. Here are some other tips from those who know:
Caroline talked about many things that help dementia patients. Memory boxes and nostalgia can also be a huge comfort to someone who experiences dementia. Care needs to be taken with reflective surfaces as it can be very distressing for some dementia patients to see their image in a mirror — their reality is that they look very different.
Kirsty and her family have some great tips including how music can be calming and generate memories.
Emma tells us about a giant clock that has made all the difference to her beloved Nanny Joyce.
Vicky demonstrated just how vital it is to visit those with dementia.
Getting your ducks in a row legally is important. Natasha mentioned how a Power of Attorney can be a useful tool for families.
Understanding Dementia Friends
In an incredibly powerful post about her late Mum, Gemma describes the experience of dementia and describes how simple it can be to show kindness to someone who is feeling confused.
Lilinha reminds us how the late Terry Pratchett supported the campaign.
Natasha explains how she has learned more about the condition since becoming a Dementia Friend.
Emma thinks becoming a Dementia Friend will help her answer her children’s questions as her Popa has recently being diagnosed.
Mari reminds us that carers need support too.
Ali shares some ways she helps a family affected by dementia.
Mary is going to take the resources into the school where she is a volunteer.
Resources and help from Dementia Friends
People with dementia can live well and independently, for many years if they have a little help, understanding and kindness from those around them.