Independence is closely linked to the feeling of self-worth. People with dementia often, after diagnosis, want to be given the option to keep their sense of freedom and their way of life for as long as possible. It has been said that people with dementia that are overly cared for begin to retreat into themselves and stop taking part in daily self-care activities.
Loved ones and caregivers can be inclined to be overly helpful and feel a need to wrap their friend, family member or loved one up in cotton wool as they do not want them to hurt themselves. However, especially in the early stages of dementia, the person diagnosed can still do many day-to-day activities independently, which can be highly beneficial for stimulating their brain.
Encouraging independence and self-care when appropriate, dependency is less likely to become disheartening for the person with dementia.
How does dementia affect independence?
People with dementia may begin to reduce their daily activities and become less independent, not only due to changes in the brain but also because of the stigma of dementia. A sense of loss of autonomy and confidence can restrict what they think they can do.
How can independence be promoted?
It can be helpful for the person with dementia to have assistance with tasks by making slightly larger tasks into either simpler or smaller ones that they can manage on their own. There are now multiple tools you can purchase that allow people with dementia to maintain a level of independence for a very long time.
Support the person with dementia to maintain their independence through a structured routine. It can be possible to put reminders around the house so that they can remember when to take their medicine, take the bins out or simply remember to have a drink of water! Supporting the person with dementia to live a life with more autonomy can have tremendous benefits to their wellbeing and mental health.
Can a person with dementia live independently?
People with dementia can sometimes either live independently due to circumstances or wish to live on their own to maintain a sense of self-worth or to live amongst their belongings.
There are ways to help people living with dementia to live independently and support their decision to do so. Here are some tips:
Build a good support network
You can build a support network by speaking with family, friends, neighbours, or professionals. Asking for help can be vital to allowing the person with dementia to live independently for longer and maintain healthy wellbeing.
Be open about the diagnosis
Telling the local community about the diagnosis will ensure that people will check in with you and can help you with picking up prescriptions or other daily tasks that you may struggle with.
- Arrange regular phone calls or visits with friends and family members.
- Try to get out regularly, for example going to the local shop to buy a paper daily. This can allow you to talk to someone and feel more involved in the community.
- Be open with people about what you require. Some people may think you need more help than required, so it is essential to speak about how you feel and try not to take it personally.
There are now pieces of technology that are tailor-made for people with dementia, which can help improve day-to-day life and stay in touch with people.
At Relish, we have created an easy-to-use Radio that can help to improve wellbeing. Music can be really powerful as it can spark memories or emotions that you can uncover.
Speak to your support network to help you find different devices that you may need, whether how to use a mobile phone or if something more specific could help you improve your quality of life.
Browse our dementia-friendly products that can help to improve quality of life and overall wellbeing.
We would love to hear your tips on maintaining independence after diagnosis. Please get in touch so we can share your tips with our community!