5 Small Ways To Make a Big Difference This Dementia Action Week
Did you know that it’s Dementia Action Week?
Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, this week is a time to recognise the challenges faced by those experiencing cognitive decline, celebrate and support the people who care for loved ones affected by Dementia, and explore ways of making life better.
Here are 5 ways that you can make a difference, from the tiny to the huge.
What will you do to show support for Dementia sufferers and carers?
1 – Ask Questions and Learn More
“If people were confident enough to ask me questions about my dementia it really would make a big difference to my everyday life.” – Paul, who is living with Dementia
This quote is shared on the Alzheimer’s Society website, and it shows the power of small gestures.
Often, we worry about seeming rude or intrusive when talking about illness, and there is still a stigma. However, it is definitely possible to start a conversation about Dementia in a sensitive way, and what better time to start than Dementia Action Week?
Even for medical professionals, it’s still a misunderstood illness. Don’t be afraid to ask a person how you can best support them, and remember that it will affect each person very differently.
A grandparent might experience dementia very differently to co-worker being treated for early onset cognitive decline in their late forties. It’s okay to ask questions, listen carefully and learn about how you can help an individual, whether they’re a family member, friend, or even just someone you very briefly meet in daily life!
2- Slow Down
Dementia is an invisible illness.
This week, try to be more conscious of that as you go about your daily life.
It’s very easy, with the stresses of the modern world, to complain about anything, or anyone, which is a little slow. Dementia sufferers might move slowly, need extra time to understand something you are explaining to them, or call you multiple times to ask the same thing.
They might also be doctors, teachers, bus drivers, lawyers, librarians or hospitality staff, managing high levels of activity with a brain that feels more ‘foggy’ than usual.
If you try just one thing this week, make it a focus on patience.
Set an example of understanding and empathy to make the world a more welcoming place for Dementia sufferers to thrive.
3- Support Carers
Until you have experienced it, it can be quite difficult to understand how many challenges are faced by Dementia carers every day.
From managing the practicalities, such as medication, mood swings and diet changes, to figuring out finances, doctors appointments, insurance … it’s easy for carers to forget to care for themselves.
If you or a friend are experiencing low mood as a result of the stress of caring for a Dementia patient, you might want to check out our list of ways to deal with depression as a carer.
Otherwise, consider making ‘carer awareness’ your focus for Dementia Action Week. Check in on friends who are carers, make sure they are taking care of themselves, too, and let them know you always have time to listen if they need to talk.
4- Go to An Event
If you’re in England, Northern Ireland or Wales then you can check out this map for local events to support.
The Alzheimer’s Society isn’t running events in Scotland, but you can still plan something! Whether it’s a cuppa with gran or volunteering to drive people to the shops who are struggling – it’ll make a big difference to that person.
What could you do to mark this week and raise awareness?
5- Get Social
Are you on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?
Why not share this article, or start a conversation about how we can support Dementia sufferers?
You can check out the Alzheimer’s Society hashtag – #DAW2018 – and show your support online!
We hope you have a lovely Dementia Action week, and that you spread some positivity.
No matter how tiny your gesture might seem, it can mean a lot to someone suffering with cognitive decline.
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