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Staying Independent with Dementia

Staying Independent with Dementia

Being diagnosed with dementia will have a big impact on your life. You and your family may worry about how long you can care for yourself, particularly if you live alone. People with dementia can remain independent for some time, but will need support from family and friends.

Living at home when you have dementia

In the early stages of dementia, many people are able to look after their homes in the same way as before their diagnosis. However, as the illness gets worse, it is likely that someone who has dementia will find it difficult to look after their home and they may need help with daily activities, such as housework and shopping. The home of a person with dementia may also need to be adapted to enable them to stay safe, mobile and independent.

Living alone with dementia

It’s good to stay independent for as long as possible. Many people with dementia continue to live successfully on their own for some time. However, be aware that, as your condition progresses, you will need extra support to help you cope, and it’s better to get this in place early.

Talk to family, friends and health professionals about how they can help you to stay independent. They can advise on how to cope with practical tasks, such as shopping. Find out about the local support services that can help you manage in your home – for example, by doing laundry and supervising meals.

Working when you have dementia

Coping at work can be worrisome for people with dementia. You should speak to your employer as soon as you feel ready. You can also get advice from the disability employment adviser at your local job center, your trade union or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you decide to leave work, seek advice about your pensions and benefits.

You could continue to work or return to work by asking your employer if you can change your workload. Your local disability employment adviser can help and advise you.


Some people with dementia prefer to give up driving because they find it stressful, but others continue driving for some time. To continue driving, you must inform the driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency that you have dementia. The DVLA will ask for medical reports and possibly a special driving assessment to decide whether you can continue driving. People with dementia must give up driving when their symptoms become bad enough to make them unsafe on the road. This is to protect themselves, their passengers and other drivers.

Assistive technology for people with dementia

Assistive technology is available for people with dementia or other conditions that affect memory. AT Dementia is an organization that provides access to technology aimed specifically at people with dementia, including:

  • daily living aids – special utensils to help people eat and drink

  • stand-alone devices – aids that can be used without being linked to a monitoring center or care giver

  • telecare – sensors or detectors that automatically send a signal to a care giver or monitoring center by telephone

**Taken directly from

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