Yes! People with dementia can and do live well!
Once the shock and disbelief of the diagnosis period has been processed it can be time to start thinking about living well. For some people that may mean business as usual, but for others it might be a chance to re-examine your daily life with a thought as to whether there might be further opportunities for enjoyable and meaningful activities.
For some people the stress and changes that have been part of the diagnosis process has meant that activities and social connections have fallen to the side. However, the ‘use it or lose it’ principle is key. The more people engage their social, physical and intellectual abilities the better. This is true for all of us whether or not we have dementia, but the difference for people who have dementia is that abilities that are not being practised can begin to diminish.
The biggest barrier to living well for some people with dementia is the loss of self-confidence and self-esteem that can come from memory loss. For example, a person may feel embarrassed about forgetting names or have trouble with scoring their game of golf and decide it’s better to stop playing golf altogether. However, while changes associated with dementia can make some things more challenging, the answer is to get support to keep doing them rather than to stop.
Staying active and engaged with life is key to your well-being. Dementia is not a reason to close the curtains and turn on the TV set. We are fortunate in Canterbury to have a wonderful range of activities and support services in the community to keep us living active and enjoyable lives.
In addition to this, Dementia Canterbury offers a wide range of social and activity programmes for people with dementia.
"I have Alzheimer's Disease - What can I do to help myself and improve my day to day life?" is a 2.20 minute video on YouTube produced by Trinity Brain Health and Trinity College Dublin.