3. Staying in touch
You shouldn’t feel cut off or isolated from other people just because you live alone. Having dementia can make it harder to do things, and this can mean that you see people less than you used to. It may be even more difficult if you live in a rural area and don’t have people or services you can get to. However, there are still things you can do to stop yourself feeling isolated.
Getting out of the house and seeing other people, continuing to enjoy your hobbies, or just keeping in touch with friends and family are all important. The following tips may help.
- Talk to other people regularly. You could arrange regular phone calls or visits with friends and relatives.
- If you don’t always want to be the person to make the first contact, you could tell people that this is how you are and ask them to call or drop in from time to time.
- If you have a computer, smart phone or tablet, consider using a video calling programme such as Skype or social media to stay in touch with people. You may prefer Skype to a phone call because you can see the person you’re talking to.
- Going to a local support or activity group is a really good way of staying socially active. You might also meet new people who are in a similar situation. If you use the internet you may find an online support group helpful. There are also video conferencing support groups available on Facebook and Zoom that you might want to try.
- See if there are any befriending opportunities in your area, or services such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side. A befriender is someone who comes and spends time with you regularly, either in your home or out in the community. This can allow you to continue your hobbies, take part in activities, or just have some companionship. You could also consider telephone befriending, where someone phones you regularly.
- If you don’t have any relatives or friends, or if you are no longer in touch, there are still ways of getting emotional support. Online communities or forums allow you to talk to other people with dementia. They can be a useful source of support, and there will be lots of other people who are in a similar situation. Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point is a good place to start – go to alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint
- Small things such as going to the local shop to buy a paper each day can give you a chance to talk to someone and to feel more involved in the community.