Living alone

2. A good support network

Having a good support network in place can really help when you live alone. This can include family, friends, neighbours or professionals. They might offer help with practical things you find difficult, look out for your wellbeing, or just be there to talk to and spend time with you.

Asking for and accepting help can be difficult. You may feel that it will stop you being independent. However, having people around who can help you, if you need it, will mean you can stay living alone for longer.

You may have lots of people who are there for you. But if you haven’t, it can be a good idea to put support in place as soon as you feel ready. You might not need much help right now, but talking to people about your diagnosis as soon as you feel ready can be reassuring. That way you will know there is help and support on hand when you do.

The following tips can help you put a support network in place.

  • Talk to people about how they can help you and what would be best for you. You can focus on what you can still do, and they can help with some of the things you find more difficult. This might be remembering to take your medication, managing the garden or shopping for food.
  • Consider telling people about your diagnosis, so they can offer you support if you need it. When people understand, they will be able to offer you help and make sure it is tailored to your needs.
  • If you don’t have family or friends who can help you, you may want to speak to other people in your community, such as neighbours, shopkeepers, people from a place of worship or your pharmacist or landlord. They may be able to help with things like lifts into town, shopping, gardening or simply calling in or phoning to see how you are.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable telling people about your diagnosis, you could just say that you need a bit of help with some things from time to time.
  • Keep a list of contacts by your phone so you can reach them if you need to.
  • Leave a set of keys with a neighbour you trust.
  • Find out what support is available where you live. This could be from social services, a homecare agency or a local charity (such as Age UK). This support can include help with meals, cleaning and household jobs, gardening, transport and more – contact your local social services or local Alzheimer’s Society for more information or see ‘Services and support’.
  • Find out if there are any events that are set up for people with dementia (dementia-friendly events) happening in your community. For more see ‘Dementia-friendly communities’.