Memory loss and dementia - help for carers
If you are caring for a person with dementia, you may sometimes find their behaviour confusing, irritating or difficult to deal with.
Advice and support
We have more information for carers including how to register as a carer and finding a carers support group.
Oakley Friends run a free training course for people who care for someone with dementia.
Alzheimer's Society has advice on how you can support someone who has dementia to communicate.
Contact the Memory Advise Service or your GP for support and advice if their behaviour worries you or causes distress.
Hints and tips
You might find the following tips useful:
- focus on what they can do rather than on what they cannot or will not - for example, lay clothes out for them to dress themselves as far as possible
- make sure they have meaningful things to do, from everyday chores to activities and do things together if you can
- make eye contact and try to listen carefully even when you are busy
- give them your full attention and think about any distractions such as noise that may affect them
- think about how you use gestures, facial expressions and touch - physical contact can give a lot of reassurance
- speak clearly and if you are not being understood use simple words or explain things differently
- stick to one topic at a time and make sure questions are simple
- too many choices can make a decision difficult, for example only give two choices when choosing what to eat
- when other people are around, include the person you care for in conversations
Changes in behaviour
Alzheimer's Society has information about how to deal with changes in behaviour. This includes restlessness, repetitive behaviour, shouting, walking about and sleep disturbance.
As a carer, you may well find changes in the person's behaviour difficult to cope with. This might include them repeating themselves, following you, pacing and shouting out. Keep in mind that they are not doing these things deliberately, and try not to take it personally. They may be in pain or trying to tell you something, for example that they are bored or frustrated.
Contact the Memory Advice Service or your GP for support and advice if their behaviour worries you or causes distress.
Over time, many people with dementia, and their families, withdraw from social and leisure activities. This increases the sense of isolation that often occurs. Fortunately, there are a large number of groups and organisations dedicated to providing opportunities for socialising for those with dementia and their carers.
Memory cafes provide an opportunity for people with dementia, families and carers to meet with others, ask questions of professionals and learn from the experiences of others.
There are also other social activities specifically for people with memory loss and dementia.