Staying active

Advice and practical tips for people with dementia on staying active in their community. 

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

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.

  • 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 the local leisure centre, 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 are finding it hard to get around, think about asking a friend or family member to take you, or see if a neighbour could give you a lift if they are going to the shops. If you don’t have someone who can take you, think about local transport schemes such as community transport or dial-a-ride. For more information contact your local Age UK or local authority.
  • 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.
  • 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. Speaking to an occupational therapist can help you find technology that would work for you.

For more information see our page on Staying involved and active.

Dementia-friendly communities

Your local community might be very important to you. You might rely on people in the community who know you to help you out. 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 local cinema, swimming sessions at the local pool or reminiscence workshops at the local community centre or art gallery.

These things can make a big difference to people who live alone. Ask your local Alzheimer’s Society or Age UK what is happening in your community.

You could even try to help make your community more dementia friendly. Speak to your local Alzheimer’s Society. If you live in England, you may also have a local Dementia Action Alliance. They support communities and organisations to take action to help people live well with dementia. For details see ‘Other resources’.

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