Living well with dementia – what are you aiming for?

Not sure if the person you're caring for is enjoying life as much as they can? Find out how to make sure that people with dementia continue to have a good quality of life

A dementia diagnosis marks a watershed moment for many people – questions will finally be answered and symptoms are explained. Now that you’re embarking on the next steps of the dementia journey, your aim should simply be to carry on living your life well, while coping with the symptoms and side effects of the condition.

There will be challenges of course but while life with dementia might be different in some ways, it can still be good

Quality of life – the signs

The key to living well with dementia is finding a good quality of life. For each person, the definition of quality of life is different. One person may define quality of life as enjoying the beauty of a sunny day. Another person may describe it as spending time with family; playing a card game; listening to music or solving a crossword puzzle. Each person is likely to have a unique understanding of what has value and what might add quality of life.

So what does it mean to ‘live well?’ The signs (below) are a good place to start. Generally speaking, the aim is for someone with dementia to be:

- Calm and contented
- Connected and engaged
- Healthy
- Practicing faith if they wish
- Productive and purposeful
- Safe and secure
- Stimulated
- Understood
- Well rested

Everyone who is touched by dementia – whether they have the condition or care for or know someone who does – should try to understand that, despite changes and the loss of some abilities, people living with the illness can still find pleasure, experience satisfaction and reach these living well goals in their own ways.

You may need to adjust life as the dementia progresses, making allowances and tweaking activities so that a loved one can still enjoy themselves even in the later stages of the disease.
However, ultimately, the quality of life of a person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia is always the focus of person-centred care. So if you're providing the care, it's really important that you always do your best to respond to their needs, wishes and values.

Find out how you can help someone continue to live well with dementia by reading more articles in our Living Well section.