Whether you’ve been diagnosed with dementia yourself, or you’re caring for a loved one with the condition, staying positive can help you to deal with the day-to-day challenges the illness can bring.
Look for at least one positive every day
When caring for someone with dementia, try to look for at least one thing to feel positive about every day. This could be something like getting out for a nice walk if circumstances allow, sitting in the sunshine in the garden, or even just having a good conversation with your loved one.
Whatever you decide to focus on, make sure you tell the person you’re caring for how lovely the activity is. The more enthusiastic you are about your walk/coffee/chat, the more it will rub off on them and the happier they’ll feel as a consequence.
Keep them active
Exercise is every important for people living with dementia. As well as helping to control weight, blood pressure and a number of other health conditions, regular exercise releases endorphins into the system. These powerful ‘feel-good’ chemicals can really help to boost your mood and will help people suffering with dementia to feel that bit happier too.
Walking is often the best exercise for people with dementia but if the current situation doesn’t allow for that then walking around the garden at home, simple stretching and sitting exercises can be a good substitute.
Take regular breaks
The more positive you are, the more positive your loved one will be, and the best way for you to stay positive and energised is to take regular breaks. If you’re tired and don’t have any time for yourself, you’ll find it hard to feel and act happy around your loved one. During this period of self-isolation it’s probably difficult to get out of the house or or find someone to fill in for you. So take a moment whenever you can to connect with others, talk to family and friends on the phone or online, go to the Dementia Network Forum and chat to other people going through the same situation.
If your loved one becomes bored, they’re more likely to feel depressed and a lot less likely to feel positive. Try to keep them busy by taking them for walks, joining local dementia-friendly groups and getting out in the garden. Even something as simple as listening to music together or looking at old family photos can be great for filling the time and making them feel that little bit happier.
If you care for someone with dementia, keeping them positive, and staying positive yourself, are incredibly important for your own wellbeing and for the long-term health of your loved one.