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Looking after yourself

By looking after your mind and body, you can live the best life you can with dementia, and reduce your need for extra care.

Here are some things you can do.

Stay healthy

You can keep yourself as healthy as possible by:

  • seeing your doctor for regular check-ups
  • taking your medication
  • eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water
  • reducing alcohol, which can make memory problems worse
  • exercising, like walking, gardening or continuing other activities you enjoy, even if you need to modify them
  • relaxing each day and resting when you’re tired.

For more on this, read our Staying healthy section.

Support your emotions

Everyone deals with their feelings in their own way, but you might like to try:

  • sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, family member or counsellor
  • joining a support group
  • keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings
  • crying or laughing, which release feel-good chemicals in your body
  • finding comfort in activities you love, like music, art or gentle exercise.

Stay connected with family and friends

Connecting with other people helps to support your wellbeing. But dementia can make it harder for you to express yourself and understand other people. There are things you can do to make it a little easier. Try:

  • finding a quiet place where there aren’t distractions
  • slowing down and taking more time to speak
  • letting people know if you’re finding it difficult to speak or understand them
  • describing the person, place or thing if you can’t remember the name
  • asking people to help if you’re struggling to think of a word.

For more on this, read our Staying connected section.

Stay active

Dementia can make it harder to do everyday activities. But there are things you can do. Try:

  • giving yourself plenty of time
  • breaking tasks into smaller steps and doing one step at a time
  • taking a break if something is too difficult
  • asking for help if you’re struggling.

You can also arrange for support with your tasks. Try:

  • asking someone to help with cleaning, cooking, transport and other tasks
  • having meals or groceries delivered
  • hiring a home maintenance service.

For more on this, read our Home Care page.

Help your memory

Dementia can make it harder to remember things. It might also be harder to keep track of time, people and places.

To help, keep a notebook or diary with you. Write things in it like:

  • your own name, phone number, address and a map showing where you live
  • the phone numbers of people you might need in an emergency
  • the names and photos of people you see regularly, and who they are to you, like “friend” or “son”
  • appointments and things to do
  • a list of things you’ve done today
  • thoughts and ideas you want to remember.

You can also make changes to your home to help your memory, like:

  • using a whiteboard or noticeboard to list important tasks, contact numbers and addresses
  • keeping important items like your phone, glasses, wallet and medications in one place
  • labelling cupboards and drawers with words or pictures that tell you what’s inside: “dishes”, “knives and forks”, “mugs”.
  • use a calendar and mark off days to help you keep track of time

For more you can do around the house, read our Creating a dementia-friendly home and Tools and aids page.

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Last updated
17 January 2024