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5 Simple Ways To Help Someone With Dementia In The Short And Long Term

Dementia is one of the biggest health issues facing the entire world.  There are over 5 million Americans living with dementia.  The disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.   In England, there are over 670,000 people living with dementia.  Recently, Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society have joined forces to help raise awareness of people living with this disease through their Dementia Friends campaign.

Celebrities are doing commercials urging friends to help those living with the disease and the campaign centers around simply understanding the disease and what you can do (as a friend) to help.  One of the campaigns initiatives are giving ways in which someone can help a loved one living with the disease.  Here are 5 simple ways one can help:

  1. Connect with the person behind the dementia.  This one is very simple.  Find out more about the person’s history so you have something to talk about;  it will help you understand them better.  Relating to them, even if they are living with this disease, will only help your relationship.
  2. Make surroundings dementia-friendly.  Dementia can often skew how things are viewed.  A shiny floor could look slippery or wet and swirly carpets might look like snakes.  In addition, label how things work-for example, how to use a remote control.
  3. Be patient with them.  You must be patient with someone living with dementia.  Often, they can get easily confused, startled or agitated.  Give them plenty of time to speak.
  4. Avoid correcting them.  Try to embrace what they do remember vs. attempting to correct them on what they don’t.
  5. Be sure to reminisce.  Short-term memory is often a classic symptom of dementia.  However, that doesn’t mean long-term memory is completely forgotten.  Share old stories so it can bring joy to your loved one.

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