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Living well with dementia

If you are living with dementia, this section offers some practical advice on living your life to the full. Much of this information comes from a useful factsheet from The Alzheimer Society of Ireland which people with dementia helped to write.

Ways to help your memory

You can take many practical steps to help your memory. A lot of these are centred around organising yourself and following a regular routine. For example:

-reminders
- to-do lists
- checklists for going out or going to bed
- put up a calendar or wall chart to remind you of dates and times
- use a whiteboard to make notes and write reminders
- if you take medication, handy organisers can help you keep track. Different types are widely available in pharmacies.

Tips for communicating

Dementia can affect how you take part in conversations and how you express yourself. Sometimes telling people you’re having trouble finding words, or asking someone to repeat themselves, can help. Names may be difficult to recall. You could practice saying someone’s name – or maybe take a note of new names. Be aware of what surroundings suit you. Consider meeting people somewhere familiar, perhaps a quiet place or one without background noise.

Ways to keep active and involved

A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean giving up everything; in fact being physically and socially active is really good for you. Stay in touch with your friends, family and community. Keep up your hobbies – maybe even take up some new ones. If you’re finding staying involved difficult, talk to your GP or The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. They can help.

How to stay healthy

Being well and healthy can help you manage your symptoms. Physical exercise is good for you so try doing something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, even walking 3- 5 times per week is enough. Keep your brain active too with puzzles, crosswords, playing music or doing hobbies you enjoy. Eat healthily and drink alcohol in moderation. Get plenty of rest and relaxation, and have regular health checks. You may need to allow more time for some things, so don’t rush and try to deal with one thing at a time.

Using equipment and technology

Don’t be daunted by equipment and technology. Using these can help you live more independently, and the correct supports can be easy to use and manage. You can find out more from an occupational therapist (your GP or public health nurse can help you), from Assist Ireland or from the The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (National Helpline 1800 341 341 or email helpline@alzheimer.ie).

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