Caring For People With Dementia

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What Help Do They Need?

What kind of care do people with dementia need? Dementia can cause a range of changes in mood, including frustration as abilities decline, confusion as memory deteriorates, and other knock-on effects as such as changes in diet and interests. Read on to discover some of the key things to take into account when caring for people with dementia.

Helping with Day to Day Tasks

When a person develops dementia, it can make a big change to how they go about their day to day tasks. They’re likely to notice they’re forgetting things, for example where the teacups or plates are kept in the kitchen, people’s names, or even where the bathroom is. Other effects include decreased coordination, which can make it much harder to perform daily tasks like preparing food, washing or getting ready for bed.

How Can You Help?

As people living with dementia see how their skills are deteriorating, are unable to express themselves or forgetting things they’re sure they used to know, they can become frustrated, helpless or less self-confident. It’s important that you help them tackle these feelings of a lack of self-worth by offering them support in a sensitive manner, without criticising their efforts. This helps your loved one feel that they’re still useful and can still do the things that used to come naturally to them.

You can also help them with their memory by putting memory aids around the house. This might include putting a picture on each kitchen cupboard door of what’s inside, or photos of what’s inside each room in the house, making it easier to find what they’re looking for.

Another way to keep them engaged is to let them take part in everyday tasks, which helps your loved one feel useful. This might include involving them in preparing meals, help with the shopping, hovering or laying the table.

Food and Nutrition

It’s important that your loved one continues to eat healthily, despite their illness. A good diet is essential to boost the immune system, especially for those with dementia, as illness can cause added confusion.

Mealtimes can become more difficult in a number of ways due to the effects of dementia. Commonly, people with dementia can forget what foods they like, refuse to eat, stop recognising familiar foods, or ask for unusual food combinations.

Not all this behaviour is down to confusion, though. Dental problems can cause irritation in the mouth, leading to your loved one resisting eating, so it’s a good idea to speak to your dentist or GP if you have concerns about their oral health.

How Can You Help?

When helping your loved one to eat, it’s important that they’re involved as much as possible. Let them help you prepare food, giving them some continuity with how they used to live their life. Let them choose what they want to eat based on sight, as this can add a visual prompt to remind them about their favourite foods.

Try to keep mealtimes as calm and stress-free as possible too. For example, your loved one’s eating habits may change over time, such as wanting to eat at different times of day. Try to accommodate this, ensuring you have plenty of time for meals allowing you to deal with any problems that may arise. Above all, remember to stay calm, as this can ensure your loved one doesn’t feel overly anxious.

Don’t Neglect Your Own Wellbeing

It’s only natural to put your loved one first, but it’s also important you also pay attention to your own wellbeing. It can be very stressful and difficult to stay positive when caring for people with dementia, especially for a prolonged period of time. As a carer, it’s important to consider your own physical and mental wellbeing, and a great way of doing this is ensuring you’re able to take a break from caring.

Type 2 diabetes Symptoms

Check if you have type 2 diabetes

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling thirsty all the time
  • feeling very tired
  • losing weight without trying to
  • itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • blurred vision

You’re more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
  • have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
  • are overweight or obese
  • are of Asian, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed following blood or urine tests for something else.

However, you should see a GP straight away if you have any symptoms of diabetes.

To find out if you have type 2 diabetes, you usually have to go through the following steps:

  1. See a GP about your symptoms.
  2. The GP will check your urine and arrange a blood test to check your blood sugar levels. It usually takes about 1 to 2 days for the results to come back.
  3. If you have diabetes, the GP will explain the test results and what will happen next.

If you’re diagnosed with diabetes

What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.

Generally, they’ll talk to you about:

  • what diabetes is
  • what high blood sugar means for your health
  • whether you need to take medicine
  • your diet and exercise
  • your lifestyle – for example, alcohol and smoking

If you have questions about your diagnosis

It’s usually difficult to take in everything the GP tells you during the appointment.

Talk to family and friends about what the GP told you, and write down any questions you have.

Then make another GP appointment and take your list of questions with you.

There’s also a lot of information on diabetes available.

What happens after the diagnosis

Usually, the following things happen after your diagnosis:

  1. The GP may prescribe medicine. It might take time for you to get used to the medicine and to find the right doses for you.
  2. You will usually need to make changes to your diet and be more active.
  3. You’ll have to go for regular type 2 diabetes check-ups.
  4. You’ll have to look out for certain signs to avoid other health problems.

A free education course for type 2 diabetes can help you manage your condition.

Most people need medicine to control their type 2 diabetes.

This helps keep your blood sugar level as normal as possible to prevent health problems.

You may have to take it for the rest of your life, although your medicine or dose may need to change over time.

Adjusting your diet and being active is usually also necessary to keep your blood sugar level down.

Medicines for type 2 diabetes

There are many types of medicine for type 2 diabetes. It can take time to find a medicine and dose that’s right for you.

You’ll usually be offered a medicine called metformin first.

You may need to take extra medicines, or a different medicine such as insulin, if:

  • treatment is not keeping your blood sugar levels within a healthy range
  • you have heart problems or need to lose weight

Your GP or diabetes nurse will recommend the medicines most suitable for you.

Your medicine might not make you feel any different, but this does not mean it’s not working. It’s important to keep taking it to help prevent future health problems.


Metformin is the most common medicine for type 2 diabetes. It can help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level.

It comes as tablets you take with or after meals.

Common side effects of metformin include feeling or being sick and diarrhoea. If this happens to you, your doctor may suggest trying a different type called slow-release metformin.