Dealing with change in Dementia

Change is something that is often tough to deal with when it comes to anything in life, but accepting change on the level of dementia, for many, is the toughest of them all.

For both those coping with dementia themselves, and those around them, compromises in our daily lives are often essential. As well as making these changes to help us cope better, the main thing that is perhaps uncontrollable is the cognitive and behavioural changes in those who are dealing with dementia themselves. This can alter aspects of the relationships their loved ones have with them, which can often be upsetting and difficult to deal with. Learning to accept and deal with that change can help.

Dealing with changes to daily life

As dementia develops, it often means that more and more changes and compromises are needed over time in order to support those with dementia. They may become less able to carry out their essential daily tasks, such as getting ready in the morning, making food, tidying the house, managing money, planning for their future, and driving – these are some of the major elements pinpointed by the NHS.

This is where things can become a bit difficult both emotionally and practically. Most of us, when we have been used to a certain way for our whole life, struggle to accept that it’s time for these things to change. Allowing the mindset that these changes are not only needed, but are beneficial to allow those dealing with dementia, and those closest to them to cope better may make this easier to accept. Practically, providing the kind of help in topic here can often be stressful, requiring more time from the person(s) that they live with. If they live alone, then drop in visits are often essential, whether that be from family/friends or a carer.

If you live with someone with dementia, it’s good to gauge what they can cope with and what they would need help with regarding practicalities, giving help in a relaxed manor, whilst it is also good for them to be able to carry on doing what they are capable of. For the areas that they need help with, carrying these tasks out with patience and calmness will help, although it is understandable that this is not always easy. Mayo Clinic provides further support on how to deal with daily tasks.

Another difficulty with helping with daily tasks is that in some cases, external care is needed which is often costly. When this is needed, it’s good to give some consideration into the options available:

  • Find out whether you can claim benefits via Gov UK’s benefits calculator.
  • Use a search engine such as Google to search for relevant care in your area.
  • Speak to your doctor as they may be able to help with what care is needed and they may be
    able to provide recommendations.

Speak to any friends are family that are/have been in similar situations, as they may be able
to offer advice from their experiences.

Dealing with behavioural changes

Coping with behavioural and emotional changes on the dementia path can be really challenging for everyone. Energy and positivity can become much harder to come by, and as things develop over time, we often feel like we are losing the person that we know – these circumstances can be very sad and upsetting, understandably. For loved ones, this realisation will likely be tough throughout the whole process, and particularly difficult on certain days. It’s important to remember that these cognitive changes are no one’s fault and to remain calm and patient. Stepping into their memories with them and jumping on board, rather than correcting and challenging may be good practice.

Allowing yourself time to deal with these emotions is important, remembering that it’s okay to have days where you feel more affected than others. Allowing this time to reflect can help with a build-up sof emotions, which can often lead to frustrations and outburst that may add difficulties.

“Change can be particularly challenging for people with dementia, and it’s important to maintain consistency and a sense of familiarity where possible. If change is unavoidable, it should be introduced gradually and communicated clearly to the person with dementia, with plenty of reassurance and support provided. Keeping a person with dementia engaged in meaningful activities and social interaction can also be helpful in reducing the impact of change.”

Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia in England


  1. NHS, Dementia Symptoms –
  2. Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care: Dealing with Daily Tasks –
  3. Gov UK, Benefit Calculator – 
  4. Gov UK, Dementia: Care, Support and Services –


The purpose of the content created by Football Against Dementia is to provide guidance that we hope can be a help to many. However, Football Against Dementia are not professionals or doctors – if you require additional help and advice, please contact your GP.