Not everyone will experience difficulties with all of these activities and a person’s symptoms can progress at different rates. You can find information about how dementia commonly affects activities of daily living below.

Personal care

As dementia progresses, a person is likely to need help with washing, brushing their teeth and taking care of their hair, hands and fingernails. In later stages of dementia people may need these tasks done for them by a carer or loved one.

Life management

As dementia progresses, a person may need more support with managing their life. This can take several different forms, from struggling to keep up with housework to becoming too overwhelmed to manage their finances.


Dementia can affect a person’s ability to communicate with the people around them. This can include difficulties when talking to people both in person and over the phone.


Dementia may affect a person’s ability to travel in several different ways. For example, it can affect their ability to walk, drive, use public transport and even find their way around.


This information was updated in June 2023 and is due for review in June 2025. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

If you have noticed any changes in either your or someone else’s ability to carry out everyday tasks or think there are other symptoms of dementia then it is best to make an appointment with your doctor who can help diagnose what might be causing the symptoms.

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