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Living with Alzheimer's disease

3-minute read

Each person’s experience of Alzheimer’s disease will be different. When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they’re likely to feel frustrated, anxious, stressed and scared.

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is usually quite gradual. Symptoms appear gradually but progressively worsen as the disease spreads in the brain.

There are several steps you can take which may help delay the onset of dementia such as:

If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you may find it useful to:

  • write yourself reminders and keep a diary
  • pin a weekly timetable to the wall
  • put your keys in an obvious place, such as in a large bowl in your living room
  • install safety devices, such as gas detectors and smoke alarms, throughout your home

There are also cognitive stimulation programs available that involve taking part in activities and exercises to improve your memory, problem-solving skills and language ability.

If you are caring for someone with dementia, you will want to do everything you can to reassure and support them while helping them retain some level of independence.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, research is continuing and as more is revealed about the condition, other ways to treat or prevent it may be found.

Slowing down dementia - expert advice

Although there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments that can help with symptoms. The progression of dementia can differ from person to person, but healthy eating, and physical and mental exercise may slow it down. This video highlights safety considerations for carers or people living with dementia.

Read the related video transcript

Dementia education and training

Want to learn what dementia is and how best to help someone living with dementia? Education and training courses provide valuable skills and support, and complement other services.

Courses and workshops are offered for families and carers, and people with dementia. Recreation activities for families, friends, carers and people with dementia are also available.

Check out the educational programs run by Dementia Australia in your state or territory on the Dementia Australia website.

At home

Creating a safe and comfortable home environment plays an important role in ensuring better quality of life for people with dementia. The fundamental purpose of a dementia-friendly home is to try to compensate for the effects of dementia and to support retained function and skills.

Fact sheets to help you create a dementia-friendly home are available on the Dementia Australia website.

The home environment will contribute significantly to the quality of life for people with dementia when it:

  • stimulates
  • orientates
  • boosts self-esteem and confidence
  • involves daily activity
  • supports family, friends and the community
  • is secure

Legal and financial preparedness

People with dementia can experience a loss of control over nearly every aspect of their lives. Where possible, people with dementia should be involved in the planning and day-to-day management of their own financial and legal concerns.

But if there is a need for these aspects to be attended to by a person’s loved ones, there are many resources available which can be helpful.

Planning ahead is crucial. Aspects to consider include:

  • planning for financial decisions
  • making a will
  • Enduring Power of Attorney
  • decisions about medical treatment
  • guardianship and administration

Further information about planning for legal and financial matters for people with dementia can be found on the Dementia Australia website.

Dementia Australia offers support, information and referral services and counselling. The National Dementia Helpline can be contacted from anywhere in Australia on 1800 100 500.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2019

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