8 Ways You Can Help During Dementia Action Week

The next Dementia Action Week will run from 15-21 May 2023. We thought we’d get ahead of the game with the campaign, and also share some ways that you can help all of the time, as well as during Dementia Action Week itself.

Read on to discover 8 ways you can help during Dementia Action Week and throughout the year.

What is Dementia Action Week?

Dementia Action Week is an awareness week run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Indeed, Dementia Action Week is the Alzheimer’s Society’s longest running and biggest campaign, where people are encouraged to act on dementia. The awareness week is important to raise awareness of dementia and what can be done to support those living with it, as well as those caring for them.

Dementia Awareness Week has a huge impact. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Society reports a 43% increase in calls to their support line during the week. But we’d argue that its importance goes beyond the single week alone.

Diagnosis was a focus for the 2022 campaign and we’re yet to learn of the focus for the 2023 week, but here are 8 things you can always do to help.

Learn more

We need more people to learn about dementia. Dementia is not ‘just getting old’; it’s an illness. Memory loss shouldn’t be seen as a normal part of ageing and this mistaken viewpoint can prevent people from seeking help and support.

Therefore, everyone should work to become more informed about dementia and memory loss, as well as a healthy ageing process.

Start by reading our blog post What is dementia and what are the most common symptoms?

Keep connections going

If you know someone with dementia, when did you last call or visit? Keeping connections fresh is vital, even if you are concerned that the person no longer remembers you. It may help you to know that individuals living with dementia can often remember emotions and emotional connections, even if they don’t remember facts. As such, your visit or call can help them to feel loved, valued and secure.

If your loved one with dementia is in specialist dementia care then the staff will be able to support you with effective and supportive visiting.

Become a Dementia Friend

It doesn’t take long, but you can make a real difference to your community and your loved ones by training to become a Dementia Friend. You can learn online or in person and by becoming a Dementia Friend, you can become informed about dementia and how you can help support those living with dementia. Indeed, if you really don’t know where to start with learning more, then becoming a dementia friend is a great start. Why not do something interesting and worthwhile one evening and sign up?

Put together a photo album

If you’ve got a loved one with dementia, it can be difficult to know what to do to help. If you can, putting together a small album with photos of loved ones can be enormously beneficial. Include photos of people and places from throughout their life that have been significant and emotionally connected to them. Photo albums can form part of reminiscence therapy, which helps those living with dementia to feel happy and secure. It can be a wonderful gift too!

For more gifts for loved ones in care homes and those living with dementia, check out the Eastleigh gift guide.

Read a book

dementia the one stop guide

The more we collectively learn about dementia, the more dementia-friendly our communities will be. An insightful way to learn more about dementia is to read novels by people who themselves have lived with the disease. These accounts are often very powerful and can help bring greater understanding.

Some titles you might like to read include Somebody I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell, Me and My Alzheimer’s by Norman McNamara and Dementia from the Inside by Dr Jennifer Bute. There are also books aimed at children, if their grandparent or other relative is developing dementia.

Make places dementia friendly

Depending on whom you are and what you do, you may be able to make a public space more dementia friendly. Perhaps you are part of a faith community and could make changes to your church or mosque? Maybe you can organise things at your workplace to make things more dementia friendly, or make improvements at a club or society you attend. If you run events, shops or hospitality venues, there are lots of things you can do to help.

There are lots of different things you can do such as improving lighting and putting up clear signage.

Spread the word

Raising awareness of dementia involves everyone spreading the word. During Dementia Awareness Week and throughout the year ask if you can include information in work newsletters. Run a cake sale or coffee morning to raise awareness but also some cash. Encourage people you know to learn more about Dementia by telling them about Dementia Friends or recommending one of the books listed above. Get together with friends or family to watch a film about dementia, such as Still Alice, Away With Her, or The Father.

Offer support and understanding to carers

Caring for someone who is living with dementia can be exhausting and worrying. Trusting someone with respite care can be tricky. There are many different ways you can support someone who is caring for someone with dementia.

You can simply offer a listening and caring ear. It can be lonely caring for someone with dementia. You can offer to make meals or help them with practicalities such as cleaning. It might be helpful to offer to do their shopping. Just letting them know that you are thinking of them by sending them a card or a bunch of flowers can go a long way too. Additionally, we’ve found that those caring for those with dementia appreciate the support of a non-involved friend when it comes to considering specialist dementia care. Visiting care homes with the current carer and talking about the transition can be enormously beneficial.

These are just 8 ways you can help during Dementia Action Week and throughout the entire year. More suggestions include volunteering and fundraising, but every little action will help make society a more dementia-friendly place.