One of the best ways to help someone with dementia can be to give him or her some of your time. This can feel difficult. They may have better days and worse days, and you may not know what to expect.
A person with dementia might find it difficult to start a conversation or suggest an activity, and it can feel awkward if you don’t know what to say or do.
Some people find it helpful to plan something to talk about or do together. Visit the What works for us page to read ideas from young people who have a grandparent or parent with dementia.
Everyone living with dementia is different, so put yourself in your relative’s shoes to work out how you can help them. Try out different things to find something you enjoy doing together.
When you do something together (such as a puzzle, gardening, or washing up) think about which parts of the task they may need help with, and which parts they might be able to do for themselves. Like everyone else, people with dementia enjoy working together and feeling involved.
If you don’t know what to say or do, don’t worry. Just being there can help. Holding hands, sharing a hug or just sitting with someone else and watching TV can help a person with dementia to feel comforted, calm and safe.
Some days you might not feel like doing things, and that is fine too.
Some young people live with a parent or another relative who has dementia, and may help to care for them. This can be a very difficult thing to do. If you are a young carer, visit the links page to find out where you can get information and support.
What works for us
Everybody who knows someone with dementia will have a unique experience of how the condition affects that particular individual. Some young people have kindly shared the things that helped them.
This information was updated in November 2019 and is due for review in November 2021. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.