Staying active as a person with dementia

There are different ways a person with dementia can stay active in their community. Dementia-friendly communities can be a huge help with this.

How can I stay active as a person with dementia who lives alone?

Continuing to do the things you enjoy and keeping your mind active is very important. It can help you to stay confident. It can also help you to keep your skills, abilities and independence for longer.

It can sometimes feel more difficult to do things when you live alone. You may find it harder to keep track of when things are happening, or to get from place to place. Dementia shouldn’t stop you doing the things you want to, but you may have to change the way you do them.

Tips for staying active when living alone

The following tips can help you to stay active:

Get involved in the local community

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. Many local venues (such as the leisure centre, cinema, football club or library) offer activities for people living with dementia.
  • There are lots of opportunities to get involved in the community. This could be at a local place of worship, village hall, theatre or museum.
  • Transport can be difficult when you live alone, particularly if you live in a rural area. If you don’t have someone who can give you a lift, think about local transport schemes such as community transport, accessible taxis or dial-a-ride. For more information contact your local Age UK or local council.

Take steps to stay safe if you get lost

  • You might find that technology can help you to stay independent and feel more confident when going out and about. There are lots of different types of technology available – for example, GPS devices in case you get lost. Your local council may have a telecare department to help you find technology that could work for you. Alternatively, social services or your GP can refer you to an occupational therapist who can help.
  • Consider taking part in the Herbert Protocol. This is a national scheme where you or your family, friends or carers compile useful information about you, which can be used to help find you if you become lost. The Herbert Protocol is used by about 70% of police services across England and Wales.
  • Some people find ‘helpcards’ useful when they are out and about. These are cards that explain you have dementia and that you might need more time or support.
Use our free helpcards

Alzheimer’s Society produces free helpcards that you can order and carry with you. 

Find out more

What are dementia-friendly communities and how can they help me?

Some communities are becoming ‘dementia-friendly’. This means that:

  • people in the area understand what dementia is and how it affects you
  • banks, shops or post offices try to make it easier for people with dementia to use their services
  • transport and signs are made easier and more accessible
  • some places do special events for people with dementia such as dementia-friendly film screenings at the cinema, swimming sessions at the local pool or reminiscence workshops at the community centre or art gallery.

These things can make a big difference to people who live alone.

Can I be involved in creating a dementia-friendly community?

If you live in England, you may have a local Dementia Action Alliance. They support communities and organisations to take action to help people live well with dementia. You could even try to help them to make your community more dementia friendly. Ask your local Dementia Action Alliance or Age UK what is happening in your community. 

Think this page could be useful to someone? Share it: