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Simple steps to help people with dementia in Oxfordshire

Tuesday 17 February 2015

We all have moments when we feel the need to escape, get away from it all, exercise and enjoy the fresh air. People with dementia may also feel the need to enjoy being outside or walking for another purpose that they need to fulfil. Some people become concerned as to how to offer support to someone who has become lost. Many people with dementia have a fragile sense of self-worth and treating them with courtesy and privacy is key no matter how advanced their dementia is.

Kindness and tone of voice should be reassuring to the person without talking down to them. Whatever the detail of what they are saying, the person is usually trying to communicate how they feel. Each person with dementia is unique and reacts to the experience of dementia in their own way and it helps if we respond flexibly and sensitively.

Getting to know who the person is and where they live may be difficult with a person who finds these basic things difficult to remember. Listening and showing the person that you are there for them and offering to do things with the person rather than for them should provide reassurance and a friendly smile goes a long way to putting people at ease. People should be patient and communicate clearly, using gestures and props to help, or find a quiet place to go where appropriate. Be guided by the person and don’t make assumptions about what someone may want or need.

There may be someone who is out looking for the person with dementia or it may be that someone else may need to be contacted in order for the person with dementia to be able to return home. Being a Dementia Friend and talking about dementia helps in supporting those affected by dementia and we hope that, gradually, stigma will be reduced.

Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain and can affect anyone. As the brain shuts down a person gradually loses the ability to do the things many of us take for granted from enjoying conversations with family and friends or to eating and dressing without help. But, for a person with dementia these can be every day challenges. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

There will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK by 2015 and this number is forecast to increase to more than one million by 2025 (Dementia UK: Second edition, 2014).

One third of people with dementia live in a care home and two thirds of people with dementia live in the community. We can help people to live well with dementia by being aware of the condition. You can learn about the condition and become a Dementia Friend at one of Alzheimer’s Society’s 45-minute interactive sessions. Dementia Friends is about giving more people an understanding of dementia and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. Or you can embrace a Dementia Friendly Community to enable people to live well with dementia in your area and improve the inclusion and quality of life for people living with dementia.

For more  information and support please contact

Alzheimer's Society, Oxfordshire

T: 01865 876 508

E: Oxfordshire@alzheimers.org.uk