Tips for making a bucket list after a dementia diagnosis

If you have dementia you know how important it is to live life to the full. Writing a bucket list could really help you do this. Now’s the time to make your dreams come true!

Could this be you?

Since being diagnosed with dementia you've been determined to make the most of every day but:

- You feel frustrated because you can't do what you used to.
- Your memory difficulties have made you more reliant on others.
- You worry about life becoming dull.

A bucket list could help you take back control and add some much needed excitement and purpose to life. Here's how to get going:

What is a bucket list?

A bucket list is a special kind of 'to do' list, in which you list all the things you want to do before you 'kick the bucket!' As well as being very enjoyable, it helps you to focus on what's really important to you, reminds you how precious life is, and puts worries and anxieties into perspective. All kinds of people write bucket lists - not just those who are ill or elderly - because they can be so beneficial and they're also a lot of fun!

Be creative

Start by writing down anything you've ever wanted to do no matter how crazy or ridiculous it is. Go back to your childhood dreams and let your imagination run free – did you want to travel the world? Have tea with the Queen? Get it all down on paper. Once you start, you'll be amazed how easily the memories return.

What's the point?

You might not be able to do most of the things you've written, but they've reminded you how important it is to have dreams, and how happy they make you feel.

Scale it down

Now you've got your creative juices flowing, write a second list bearing in mind all the wild dreams contained in the first. So for example, you might not be able to travel the world, but maybe you could arrange a trip somewhere you've always wanted to go? You might not be able to have tea with the Queen but maybe you could get dressed up and go to a very swanky hotel for afternoon tea?

Think big and small

Bucket lists aren't only about planning expensive holidays or trips (although you are free to do this of course). The beauty of a bucket list is that it can contain absolutely anything that brings you joy. Here are a few examples of smaller items:

- Paint a picture
- Grow your hair long
- Start a blog
- See an opera
- Write your life story
- Find an old friend
- Start a scrapbook
- Make up a poem
- Take a bubble bath with champagne

Get the idea? Pick up your pen and start writing!

Don't try to finish it

The beauty of a bucket list is that it's never finished. You are free to add, amend or change anything on it.

Make it happen

Tell friends and family what you're doing (you could encourage them to make a bucket list, too) and don't be afraid to ask them for help with something on your list. Whether it's writing your life story tracing a friend online or going with you to see an opera. Explain that being able to tick something off your list will give you a great sense of accomplishment and achievement.

Bigger trips

These are important too - and there's no reason why you can't travel somewhere you really want to go - but they need to be planned. Bring your loved ones together and discuss what might be involved. It's amazing how many practical difficulties can be overcome with a bit of thought and preparation. Good luck!