How to make a visit to a person living with dementia a positive experience for everyone

How to make a visit to a person living with dementia a positive experience for everyone

Dementia is a progressive condition so if you’re visiting someone who is living with dementia, you may notice a difference since the last time you met.

Company, chat and competition

Lyn’s husband Michael, who was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, enjoys spending time with family and friends.

“He still gets pleasure out of seeing them and going to their homes, but I find that he gets tired very easily now whereas he used to be able to sit and chat and play games,” Lyn said.

“There’s one game that he absolutely loves, Rummikub, that we’ve been playing for donkey’s years that we still play with friends and he really enjoys that.

Keeping engaged and socially active

Tim, whose wife Carol is living with dementia, says it’s important to keep up social activities.

He attended Dementia Australia’s Living with Dementia program where he learnt about the importance of supporting someone living with dementia to engage with others to the degree that they were comfortable with.

“Part of the information I got was that it’s critical to keep the person diagnosed engaged, which is often overlooked,” he said.

“It’s made a huge difference because before that we were steering towards isolation.

“My advice would be to make sure you take your role as a carer, friend or family member seriously.

“Get information that will make sure what you do is the right thing and is making life as good as it possibly can be for both you and the person living with dementia.”

Preparing children for a visit

If you are taking children to visit someone living with dementia, Helpline Advisor Andrea suggests preparing them beforehand.

“Explain that the person may have certain limitations that they didn’t once have and that things may have changed since their last visit,” Andrea said.

“It is always best to be mindful of the time of day for particular activities and to keep the activity short.

“It could just be that the child sits with them and reads a quiet story, or they draw a picture or sing for them.

“The person living with dementia may need assistance to get involved, it’s about them feeling supported and able to cope with the activity.”

If you or someone you care for lives with dementia and needs support, we are here for you. Find local dementia support services in your area.