Keep it simple – Keep it achievable:

1. Find a new routine. For people living with dementia having a regular pattern helps to keep them settled and orientated.

2.  The joy of eating

Mealtimes are the ‘bones’ of this new routine. Having meals at the same time everyday and making meals, from the preparing, the eating, through to the tidying up, a social/enjoyable activity rather than a chore is helpful in giving a stable pattern to the day.

3.  Work, rest and play

In between the ‘bones’ of the mealtimes, people are ‘fleshing out’ the in between times with a mixture of work, rest and play. This balance is important in making sure that every day there is a sense of achievement (work), a time to recharge both body and mind (rest) and a time for fun and pleasure (play).

4. Most popular ‘Work’ activities

·       Setting about those things you never have time for (clearing cupbaords, drawers, sorting photos etc)

·       Keeping busy in the garden

·       Keeping busy in the home – hoovering, dusting, sorting out the washing etc

5. Most popular ‘Rest’ activities

·       Watching TV

·       Listening to music

·       Reading books or magazines

·       Sitting in the garden when the weather permits

6. Most popular ‘Play’ activities

·       Having a daily dance – routinely recommended everywhere as the best form of mental & physical wellbeing!

·       Making the most of your daily exercise – enjoying the change of scenery, the flowers, the birdsong, the fresh air, the signs of spring

·       Getting out old records, listening to favourite songs

·       Other reminiscing – going through old photos, boxes of object from the past

·       Making & baking

7.  Staying connected to our friends and families

We need social contact.  Regular contact with friends and family by whatever means are available is essential – whether that be the old fashioned methods of phone, post, a conversation at safe distance across the garden or the garden fence, or more modern methods of What’s App, Facebook, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and so forth. How you stay connected doesn’t matter, just stay connected!

8.  Not over-watching the news

Just enough to know the headlines and the latest guidance.

Overall message – ‘The Old Ones are the Best – but don’t forget the Rest’

It can be tempting to overdo the ‘Work’ and ‘Play’; the sense of achievement that comes from work, and the fun that comes from play are more motivating that than the quietness of rest. But to reduce the risk of burnout it is very important to pace yourself. So, take care:

·       Sometimes the dust needs to stay another day. 

·       If you are aware your batteries are running low don’t engage in activities that might leave you with a big mess just when you don’t need it (e.g. baking, scrapbooking)