There is a lot of change that happens throughout our lives and a diagnosis of dementia is one of those times where change occurs. When life changes because of a diagnosis, a variety of different emotions such as grief and loss, as well as changes to relationships, life roles, and life perspectives can be experienced. Changes to cognition, memory and functioning amongst other symptoms may occur and this can impact on the person’s life and wellbeing in many different ways. It is possible through the journey of progressive change to live well with dementia. Living well with dementia doesn’t overlook the very real impacts of the disease, rather it considers them and includes them in the full picture of being a person living with dementia and those close to them.
Living well with dementia means finding ways to promote wellbeing and quality of life for everyone affected by the disease. It acknowledges that positive emotions and experiences in life can still be experienced as you move through the changes occurring. There are many ways to promote wellbeing through the journey, and supportive strategies can help through the times of change. When we look back on life we can see how we have grown as a person and adapted to changes we have experienced, this happens progressively as do the changes experienced throughout the journey of dementia.
One of the most common aspects of life that may be impacted by a diagnosis of dementia is relationships, the dynamics of relationships, changes in roles within relationships and sometimes loss of relationships. There are constructive ways to support new phases in the relationships that are closest to the person who has been diagnosed. Changes also occur in our daily experience, depending on current employment, study and the way a person participates in their life.
Living well with dementia also includes having the knowledge to navigate the health system and support services, which can be a challenge and has the potential to cause stress. Understanding what assistance is available, planning support, and finding services that best meet your needs can benefit the overall experience of living with dementia in a positive way.
In this section we explore many different possibilities of how to live well with Dementia.