Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

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 Alzheimer’s Australia in your state or territory at www.fightdementia.org.au

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 at www.fightdementia.org.au

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 at www.fightdementia.org.au

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

Last reviewed: May 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Dementia (Alzheimer's disease) information video | myVMC

Living with dementia and providing dementia care can be difficult. Watch tips and advice from doctors and people with Alzheimers disease in this video.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Alzheimer's disease - myDr.com.au

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Find out all you need to know, including what causes it and whether it can be prevented.

Read more on myDr website

Dementia (Alzheimer's disease) carers' information video | myVMC

Caring for people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease is challenging. This video presents practical strategies for caring for Alzheimer's carers.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Alzheimer's disease | Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Get the facts on Alzheimers disease, and Garvan's research focus. We look at the signalling pathways regulating neuroplasticity, and harnessing the brains own adult stem cells. Alzheimers is a degenerative condition of the brain characterised by memory loss and reduced cognitive function.

Read more on Garvan Institute of Medical Research website

It's Not Just Cancer

Palliative care provides support and care for many people with cancer. People living with other diseases are also being offered palliative care services. This may include people who have: Alzheimers' disease, AIDS, Motor Neurone Disease and multiple sclerosis,advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver disease , disabling stroke and other neurological diseases, and dementia.

Read more on CareSearch website

Dementia Australia | Dementia treatments and cure

Researchers around the world are working to develop effective treatments for dementia, and eventually to find a cure. Much of this work is focussed on Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia. There is currently no cure for Alzheimers disease. Available medications can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in some people, but they do not stop the progress of the disease.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Memory problems (Alzheimer's and dementia) information | myVMC

Memory problems or memory loss is commonly caused by Alzheimer's disease or dementia, but sleep disturbance and thyroid conditions also affect memory.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Alzheimer's disease - Lab Tests Online AU

Site map of article content

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Dementia risk factors - myDr.com.au

Some of the risk factors associated with dementia can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments.

Read more on myDr website

Down Syndrome and Dementia: A Guide for Families

Dementia is an umbrella term that includes a range of conditions that cause symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills.

Read more on Down Syndrome Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback