Health and wellbeing
Keeping physically active
Physical activity has many health benefits. People who are physically active feel stronger, sleep better, have better coordination and balance, and have a general sense of wellbeing.
Preserving cognitive function
In recent decades, brain research has led to an explosion of new knowledge. Of particular interest to a person living with dementia is the expanding knowledge of neuroplasticity and the potential for preventing or delaying the various types of dementia. A lot has been learned; for example,that ‘people with early stage dementia are capable of new learning and therefore rehabilitation interventions that aim to optimise independence may be appropriate’ (1:p56).
Eating well – food and nutrition
Food is one of the pleasures of life. Yet for many people living with dementia, the pleasure of eating is undermined by changes dementia brings about. These changes can be compounded by isolation, leading to weight loss and malnutrition for many.
Intimacy and sexuality
People with dementia continue to need loving, safe relationships and caring touch. However they will vary in their individual ways of giving and receiving affection, and the ways in which dementia affects that capacity. As a result of the condition, some people with dementia may become demanding and insensitive to the needs of others, and less able to provide caring support for their family and friends. They may also experience changes in the expression of their sexuality. Some people continue to desire sexual contact while others may lose interest in sexual activity.
The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government funded initiative.