Tips for supporting a person with ARBD

Read our tips for supporting a person with ARBD. They apply to the different types of ARBD (alcohol-related 'dementia', Wernicke-Korsakoff's, and others).

  • Support the person to stop drinking alcohol. This will give them the best chance of recovery.
  • Support the person do things that will help them to keep and improve their skills. For example,  if they are struggling with shopping, aim to do it with them, not for them. You could give them responsibility for the parts of the shopping trip they enjoy and can manage, such as planning the meals or ticking items off the shopping list.
  • Ask professionals who are involved in the person’s care how you can best help them.
  • Encourage the person to keep a diary. They will benefit from having a structure and a daily routine.
  • Break down complex tasks into smaller steps to make them easier to follow, such as cooking a meal.
  • When you are talking to the person, be patient, use short sentences and summarise what you have said. Give them time to respond, and encourage them when they are speaking.  For more information read our advice on communicating.
  • Support the person at home by labelling cupboards and arranging rooms so that things are easy to find. For information on helping the person to live independently, see our booklet Making your home dementia friendly.
  • Encourage the person to eat a balanced diet. It’s important to eat healthy meals every day to make sure they are getting enough vitamins to help their brain to function. An alcohol treatment service should be able to make suggestions about healthy eating.
  • Help the person to look after themselves. Keeping up their general wellbeing, such as getting enough sleep, can help with rehabilitation. 
  • Support the person to go to a self-help group for addiction. Carers, friends and family can also join one. View our list of resources and useful organisations who can support with ARBD.

Caring for a person with dementia, a practical guide

If you are caring for a person with ARBD or dementia, this guide is for you. It will support you to care for the person and to look after yourself.


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