Finding a bit of peace, whether you have dementia or not

We ask people about how they keep well, whether they have dementia or not. This issue, we hear about dealing with stress and difficult feelings. 

Jeannette Meyers, Kent 

Weekly classes for tai chi, Spanish and BSL (British Sign Language) and once a week with friends or on my own for poetry. 

Tai chi for gentle exercise and relaxation, Spanish as it’s a language I have always wanted to learn and wasn’t allowed to at school, BSL as I am hearing impaired, and poetry as I have always enjoyed reading and writing it. 

It makes me think of myself and my needs rather than focusing on dealing with my loved one with dementia.

So that I can attend, carers were paid for one afternoon and friends covered the evenings.

Jeannette Meyers


Jacqui Keylock 

I found adult colouring very relaxing. It was something I could do and still be fully alert to anything my late husband got up to. He had young onset frontotemporal dementia and was still fit, and would stack furniture and then climb it etc. 

I needed something to calm my mind – going day to day, just about coping and some days not coping at all, was relentless.

When Hubby had his shutdown periods, which went on for hours or days at a time, it meant I could sit on the bed with him so that if he awoke he felt safe. 

A new level of calmness, now I can lose myself still in colouring a picture. 

Janet Palmer, Warwickshire 

When I was a carer for my mother-in-law, who had dementia, it was very helpful to attend a group so that I could meet other families in the same situation.

Protected time with a number of other carers, so that we could share experiences and feelings with each other and with the group facilitator, was really important. 

It helps you realise that you are not the only person feeling stressed and at a loss, and also that others have felt the same and worked through the issues. 

The support group was once a week with a charity called Springfield Mind. It is easier to feel close to people (even strangers) when you have a subject such as dementia in common. 

Janet Palmer


Susie Mackenzie, North Yorkshire 

I practise mindfulness – with emotions, this means allowing myself to feel a difficult feeling (anger, sadness, fear) rather than hide or supress it.

Not repressing or supressing a difficult emotion means it does not sit in my head or body, with thoughts and feelings feeding off each other and making me feel worse. 

I cared for my mother when she had vascular dementia. Mindfulness really came in useful when I was dealing with difficult situations with her. For example, she might say something out of anger or frustration, but I learned to use mindfulness to hear a remark, breathe and then respond in a more helpful way instead of snapping back. 

Susie Mackenzie


Live well, stay well 

Some things that affect your chance of developing dementia are things you can’t change, like your age and genes. However, you can keep your mind and body active, enjoy healthier food, not smoke, drink less alcohol, stay in touch with people and deal with any health problems. If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay well. 

NHS Live Well has wellness advice for everyone. 

Dementia together magazine

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now