Learning new things, whether you have dementia or not

We ask people about how they keep well, whether they have dementia or not. They share their thoughts on exploring new things. 

Paul Harvey, with dementia with Lewy bodies, Essex 

Working closely with Alzheimer’s Society to get awareness out there and trying to change the way people see dementia.

Because there is a lot of stigma out there and, especially if you have young-onset dementia, we come across a lot of barriers.

Making a difference for the future generation so they don’t have to battle the stigma and barriers I did. As long as I can cope, I will go on.

Paul Harvey

Paul hopes his work with Alzheimer's Society will make a difference for future generations.

Emma Gunatilleke, Devon 

I love learning new things all the time. I do online academic courses and crafting courses to keep my brain active. I also read a lot and learn from that. 

I tend to do academic courses online and craft courses either alone online or as a group participant. I have also been to some in-person sewing workshops. I tend to do something most months. 

They are things I enjoy and that’s what keeps me motivated. I have gained new skills which I can use both professionally and personally.

Sue Harrison, Cumbria 

I started to row about three to four years ago as a new venture! I also recently started cycling again, as I’d had to stop when my husband couldn’t do it anymore. My husband now goes cycling once a week on a side-by-side bike with me or his support worker at a place called Watchtree. 

I started rowing as I needed something just for me as my husband’s dementia got worse. I feel I spend two afternoons a week as me, not as a carer. I cannot do anything without getting a support worker or a friend to be with my husband. 

It helps my physical and definitely mental wellbeing, as I do find the fact that I now have to limit how and where we walk together and the slow pace incredibly hard mentally and emotionally.

Sue Harrison's husband

Sue’s husband, who has dementia, goes cycling once a week.

Les Eve, Norfolk 

We are fortunate to have a large, secluded garden. Using our downstairs shower one sunny day, I stepped out into the garden to towel dry. I found it different and exhilarating, which led me to sit out there to have breakfast. 

I now know that naturism is a great release, to sit quietly enjoying the sunshine, reading or wandering around the garden is relaxing, helps you to recognise and feel comfortable in your body, and gives confidence. 

Cares seem to evaporate, I can see in through large windows that my cared-for is safe and OK. I can be my own person, switched off, relaxed, doing something I enjoy, which hopefully helps me focus in a better way on the mammoth task of caring. 

Pamela Caddick, West Midlands

I have taken up yoga, once a week in a group. I wanted to improve my balance and my mental health.

Being part of a group has benefited me – I am more balanced and positive. 

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 is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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2 comments

I am just coming to terms with my MRI scan. I have to inform the DVLA, and car insurance which looks like I will lose the right to drive my car. This saddens me, but I understand . My life is going to be very different. I'm going to my pilates class this morning, and shall tell the group; get it over with. Just hope I don't cry!
Thank you for the advice I got here..my beautiful mam has dementia 7years now..my brother was her carer..but she in hospital now awaiting home care..it so sad seeing your parent this way...but have to stay positive and make lot more memories with her...thanks 😊 again Margaret