Living with Dementia
Life doesn’t end when your journey with dementia begins.
Getting a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean you need to give up doing the things you love doing. It’s good to keep engaged in the world, socialising and being physically active for as long as you can. No one asks for this declining neurological disease, but with an early diagnosis, the right supports and a determination to live the best life you can, people living with dementia can do well for many years.
For over 20 years our Dementia New Zealand network has been providing support services to New Zealanders whose lives have been affected by dementia. Dementia Auckland, Dementia Waikato, Dementia Lakes, Dementia Hawkes Bay, Dementia Wellington, and Dementia Canterbury provide information, education resources and support services to people living with dementia, their caregivers and whānau.
Ask for help
Living with dementia isn’t always easy. Whether you’ve been diagnosed yourself, or you would like to support someone you know, we are here to help.
Our Dementia New Zealand Network covers over 70% of the New Zealand population currently living with Dementia.
- Guidance for people navigating their way to getting a diagnosis of dementia.
- Support services for care partners, families and people living with dementia – individual support for carers and families,
- Carer Support Groups, meaningful activity groups for people living with mild to moderate dementia and still live in their own homes.
- Education and information for people whose lives are affected by dementia – Carer Education session, Masterclasses, and specialist topic sessions.
- Education for community groups, professional groups, residential facilities.
- Anti-stigma and awareness campaigns for the general public.
Why support is important
The journey through dementia is a challenge but you do not have to do it alone. Dementia New Zealand provides support and access to valuable information to help you understand the diagnosis, plan for the future, cope with changes that dementia brings and manage to live the best life you can despite the dementia.
Who we help
Our Dementia New Zealand Network is committed to supporting:
- People living with all forms of dementia
- Carers and families of people living with dementia
- Health care professionals and other services supporting people living with dementia
We deliver local community based services face-to-face, by telephone, or online depending on your needs or location.
Get support to live well with dementia
A referral to our Dementia New Zealand Network connects people living with dementia with the right community support services to enable them to live their best life.
Speak to someone – Find local community support in your area.
Visit your GP for an assessment – your GP will refer you to your local Dementia New Zealand community service provider
Family/Whānau Referral – complete the online contact form
Information to take home – Download printable resources to help someone living with dementia better understand their diagnosis and services available.
Working while living with dementia
Getting a diagnosis of dementia while still of working age can be difficult to accept. You may still want or need to continue working, whether it’s for financial reasons or because you enjoy it.
If you have been diagnosed with dementia and are still working, you may need to start making decisions about changing how you work. It’s possible the symptoms of your condition have already started affecting your work.
You may experience:
- difficulty communicating your thoughts to colleagues or clients
- trouble concentrating for as long as you used to
- forgotten meetings or appointments
- difficulty managing several tasks at one time
- problems with larger groups, so you prefer to work alone
- a lost confidence in your work abilities
- feel uncertain about making important decisions
The key is to take control of what your experiencing early on so that you can plan for the future.
Talking about your dementia diagnosis
After a dementia diagnosis, it’s best to talk to your employer and tell them if you’d like to continue working. Some people can feel anxious about telling their employer, but there can be many benefits. By informing your workplace, you will be able to access support that could help make work more manageable.
Whether or not you tell your other colleagues that you have dementia is always your choice. There’s no rush to make a decision, so take your time and consider asking your employer for advice.
Changes to your role to help you work with dementia
If you decide to continue working, think about whether making changes to your role could help you do your job better.
Some adjustments that people living with dementia make to their roles include:
- Changing your work schedule to give you time to rest if you are tired
- Simplifying your schedule and opting out of less important meetings
- Requesting to be moved to a quieter area with less distraction
- Using technology or calendars to remind you of meetings and deadlines
- Moving to a less senior or demanding role.
As dementia is a progressive condition, there will likely come a time when continuing to work is no longer possible. There are many reasons why people have to give up work – it is not a failure to have a condition that makes it impossible to continue working.