Dementia fact sheet

Dementia fact sheet

These pages provide tips and links to help you to understand some of the key challenges people affected by dementia may experience and how you can best support them.

Page last reviewed: 03 November 2023


Supporting a person living with dementia

The person you’re supporting could have cognitive difficulties or dementia. Be aware that when you have a conversation you may need to repeat yourself, revisit elements of the conversation or communicate more clearly than usual to have a successful chat.

Living with dementia brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Some local services affected by the pandemic, may not have returned yet. This may mean that people affected by dementia are no longer able to take part in activities that supported them to live well. People may feel anxious, scared or lonely and their carers and families may be caring for them 24/7 with little or no respite.

It’s important to note that dementia isn’t a natural part of ageing and similar symptoms can be brought on by depression. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain and doesn’t just cause memory problems - it can affect anything and everything the brain controls, including mood and changes in behaviour. Dementia can make people forget details, but they will remember the feeling of reassurance and support provided by your call. This really will help to stop negative feelings caused by isolation.

If you are worried about the person you’re supporting and their memory, or if they inform you they are struggling with their dementia or struggling to care for someone with dementia, please call the Support Team.

If you want more information about dementia, please visit alzheimers.org.uk[1]

Page last reviewed: 03 November 2023


Clear communication

Dementia can affect someone’s communication abilities. For example, a person with dementia may forget words or have problems following a conversation.

Each person will experience dementia in their own way, but there are some simple things that you can do to communicate more effectively in person and on the phone:

  • Speak clearly, calmly and at a slightly slower pace if the person is having difficulty understanding.
  • Use short, simple sentences.
  • Be patient and give the person time to respond.
  • Try to avoid asking too many questions, or complicated questions, phrasing them in a way which allows a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
  • If you’re supporting somebody in person, stand or sit where the person can see and hear you as clearly as possible, and try to be at eye level.

Page last reviewed: 03 November 2023


The Dementia Friends programme

This successful programme from Alzheimer’s Society is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. The programme is quick to follow and will support you in your volunteering when supporting people affected by dementia.

Visit their website dementiafriends.org.uk[2] and type in your unique code NHS999

  • Watch at least the 2 videos titled ‘Understanding Dementia’ and ‘The Bookcase Analogy’ to learn more about dementia and how you can help – and you can choose to watch the remaining videos as well.
  • Sign up to receive your virtual Dementia Friends badge. You can also let others know all about the programme - dementiafriends.org.uk/registration[3].
  • Once you have learnt more about dementia, simply commit to taking your own individual action – your generous donation of time and compassion as a Volunteer Responder is a great action to be taking. 

Alzheimer’s Society can help to answer questions about dementia.

For more information visit alzheimers.org.uk[1]

Connect with other people affected by dementia via the Alzheimer’s Society online community Talking Point at forum.alzheimers.org.uk[4]

Page last reviewed: 03 November 2023


Dementia training videos

Links

  • [1] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
  • [2] https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/DF_WEBC_PartnerVideos?page=videos-for-organisations&utm_source=NHS&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=GoodSAM&utm_content=video#.XyheNShKiUk
  • [3] https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/Registration/s/signup
  • [4] https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/forums/coronavirus-covid-19.83/?_gl=1*1ejyogw*_gcl_aw*R0NMLjE1ODQ1NDM1NzUuQ2owS0NRandqY2Z6QlJDSEFSSXNBTy0xX09wQ1dpLXZRbVRYNjgtaXpRSHIwTkhnemo5d2ExSUFGQ05wU3kteWExOGlIR0FyUGNrM0xmb2FBbFBSRUFMd193Y0I.*_gcl_dc*R0NMLjE1ODQ1NDM1NzUuQ2owS0NRandqY2Z6QlJDSEFSSXNBTy0xX09wQ1dpLXZRbVRYNjgtaXpRSHIwTkhnemo5d2ExSUFGQ05wU3kteWExOGlIR0FyUGNrM0xmb2FBbFBSRUFMd193Y0I.&_ga=2.242733121.239650071.1584958757-1430936000.1561108315&_gac=1.220640618.1584543576.Cj0KCQjwjcfzBRCHARIsAO-1_OpCWi-vQmTX68-izQHr0NHgzj9wa1IAFCNpSy-ya18iHGArPck3LfoaAlPREALw_wcB
  • [5] /im-a-volunteer/fact-sheets/watch-understanding-dementia
  • [6] /im-a-volunteer/fact-sheets/watch-the-lived-experience
  • [7] /im-a-volunteer/fact-sheets/watch-communication-strategies
  • [8] /im-a-volunteer/fact-sheets/watch-living-better-with-dementia