Self-help and treatments for dementia
There is currently no cure for dementia or any treatment that slows down the progression of the underlying diseases in the brain. However, there are treatments that can improve symptoms and help a person to live more easily with the condition:
- Getting support - A diagnosis of dementia can come as a shock, even if you have been expecting it. It’s natural to feel worried about the future but, remember, you are not alone.  If you are feeling worried you can give our Health at Hand team a call on 0800 003 004 to talk things through with one of our nurses or counsellors for some extra support. You can also get in touch with Alzheimer’s Society who offer a wide range of support and information for people affected by dementia. They have a Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456) which will put you in touch with their dementia advisers who can help you. Dementia affects not only the life of the person who has it but also the lives of those close to them. Advice and support are available for all affected –the NHS, social services and voluntary organisations can all help (see list of useful links).
- Eating well – Having a healthy, balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods from different food groups is important for our overall health and wellbeing. The NHS Eatwell Guide has lots of information to help make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need to feel at your best. Or, take a look Age UK’s Healthy Eating Guide for more tips on how to eat well easily and inexpensively.[10, 11]
- Sleep – To encourage a healthy sleep pattern try to limit daytime naps, avoid caffeine too late in the day, incorporate exercise during the day and find ways to encourage relaxation.. We have lots of information and tips to help you get a better night's sleep on our sleep hub.
- Exercise and mobility – the more mobile someone stays, the better it will be for their health and wellbeing. You don't need to join a gym or start running marathons to feel the benefit. Moving more while doing something you enjoy can work wonders for your mind and body and really boost your feelgood factor. Take a look at our article for some ways you can get active in a way that suits you. You may benefit from speaking with and occupational therapist or physiotherapist to if you need some extra help with staying safe in your environment.
- Stay as independent as possible, tackling daily tasks as you have always done. If some things become more difficult, think of ways to make them easier or ask for help. Your GP will be able to advise you about the services and treatments that are available to you.
- Keep busy and continue with the activities and hobbies you’ve always enjoyed as these can be a great comfort and stress buster.
- Keep a diary and write down the things you want to remember.
- Put labels around the house, such as on cupboards and drawers.
- Medication can help slow down the progression of dementia symptoms in some cases and there are also medications available to help manage associated conditions. If you’d like to know more about the medications that may be available to you please get in contact with your GP or call us here at Health at Hand on 0800 003 004 to speak with one of our pharmacists (Available 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm Saturdays and 8am-12pm on Sundays).
- It is important that you continue to attend any of your medical appointments, and to follow up with your GP to monitor how your needs may have changed. If you are having difficulties with this it may be that a friend or family member, or a community practitioner, could assist you with attending your appointments.
Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity are one of AXA UK’s chosen charity partners. Through our partnership we will be raising money to fund vital research which was forced to stall because of the pandemic. We are now helping dementia research get back on track by supporting 5 incredible projects funded by some of the biggest names in the field.
The content in this article has been developed with Alzheimer’s Society. For further information and to find out how you can access support you can visit alzheimers.org.uk. To find out more about Corporate Responsibility at AXA UK, visit our CR page here.
Further information from AXA Health
Getting active your way | AXA Health
Tips to delay dementia and boost your brain power | AXA Health
Caring for someone with dementia – Coping tips for family and friends | AXA Health
Young onset dementia | AXA Health
Alzheimer’s Society –the UK’s leading dementia charity provides support through its Dementia Connect service for people living with dementia.www.alzheimers.org.uk
Dementia UK - Specialist support to families facing dementia – www.dementiauk.org
National Dementia Action Alliance – We are the alliance for organisations across England to connect, share best practice and take action on dementia.
NHS Conditions - About dementia - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Age UK - www.ageuk.org.uk
Carers UK - www.carersuk.org
Citizens Advice Bureau - www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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2. Dementia UK, 2021. Types and symptoms of dementia. Retrieved here: Types and Symptoms - Dementia UK. (Accessed 2 March 2021)
3. Alzheimer's Society, 2021. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Retrieved here: Alzheimer's disease | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk). (Accessed September 2021)
4. Alzheimer's Society, 2021. Vascular dementia: what is it and what causes it? Retrieved here: Vascular dementia: what is it, and what causes it? | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk). (Accessed September 2021)
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9. Age UK, 2021. Loneliness. Retrieved here: Combating elderly loneliness | Age UK. (Accessed September 2021)
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11. NHS, 2021. The Eatwell Guide. Retrieved here: The Eatwell Guide - NHS (www.nhs.uk). (Accessed September 2021)
12. Alzheimer's Society, 2021. Sleep and dementia risk. Retrieved here: Sleep and dementia risk | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk). (Accessed September 2021)
13. Age UK, 2021. Being active as you get older. Retrieved here: Exercise advice for keeping active as an older adults | Age UK. (Accessed September 2021)
14. NHS, 2021. What are the treatments for dementia? Retrieved here: What are the treatments for dementia? - NHS (www.nhs.uk). (Accessed September 2021)