Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Living with dementia

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Dementia occurs when the brain becomes damaged by disease. It spans problems including cognitive difficulties, language problems and memory loss. Those over 65 are most affected. Changes in behaviour and mood may be observed, and eventually symptoms come to significantly affect daily life, requiring appropriate care and support. The most common types of dementia are:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mixed dementia
Living with dementia


The symptoms of dementia differ in the early stages, but as more of a person’s brain becomes affected, they become more alike. People with dementia typically struggle with the following:

  • everyday memory
  • planning, organising and concentrating
  • conversation
  • visual and spatial skills
  • orientation.

They may also experience mood changes and become frustrated, withdrawn or upset.

Living well with dementia

Everyone experiences dementia differently. If you have dementia, it is important to stay positive and focus on things you enjoy. Rest assured that you’re still the same person, even though you may have memory or concentration issues. As the disease progresses, relationships can change, so it is important to keep the lines of communication open. With the right support, you can live well with dementia for many years.


It is essential to look after yourself if you have dementia including all of the following:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Talk to your GP if you suffer from depression
  • Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Have regular dental, hearing and eyesight check-ups
  • Have a review of all your medication with the GP.
Living with dementia

Tips for staying well

Life with dementia can be distressing. But the following measures will help you to stay well:

  • Have a regular routine
  • Schedule activities in a planner for the time of day when you feel at your best
  • Put your keys in an easy-to-remember place
  • Keep helpful numbers next to the phone
  • Put bills on to direct debits
  • Employ a pill organiser (dosette box)
  • Remove trip hazards and have carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms installed
  • Get automatic timers for plugs, lights and heating.

Make your home dementia-friendly

Technology that can help you to live well includes electronic medication reminders, locator devices if you misplace things, and automatic ‘shut-off’ devices if you forget to switch off the oven, tap or gas.

Support from a care worker

Care for someone living with dementia should be ‘person-centred’, focusing on their specific needs and preferences.

Care workers act in tandem with the family and friends of the person living with dementia. They respond to the individual’s changing needs and can provide invaluable support especially when dealing with difficult behaviour. A care worker can ensure that a person living with dementia stays active mentally, physically and socially. Live-in care may be arranged in the late stages of dementia.

A care worker from an agency such as Guardian Carers will be assigned to an individual after a customised care package has been devised to support the individual and their family.

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