Five tips to help a loved one affected by dementia 

Alzheimer's associations in many countries have these good tips on how you can help a person with dementia. Maybe you have a family member of friend with the disease, or at some point in the future you may find that you need to interact with someone who has dementia. Knowing these tips can help you…

Be patient 

  • People with dementia often require a little longer. So be patient when standing in line at the supermarket or talking to someone with dementia.

Get in touch 

  • People with dementia can easily become disoriented. Therefore, do not be afraid to make contact with people who walk around lost, as if they cannot find their way.


  • People with dementia read a lot from your body language. So remember to smile and have a positive and welcoming body language when you meet someone with dementia.

See the person 

  • People with dementia suffer from a serious brain disease - but there is still a person behind the disease. Remind yourself that people with dementia have feelings too and are not just their diagnosis. Be present and involved.

Gain knowledge about dementia 

  • 80 percent of people with dementia experience that there is a great deal of ignorance about dementia in society. It contributes to the taboo about dementia diseases and that people with dementia are isolated.

Leading an active life with dementia

Physical activity and functional training are important elements in the care of people with dementia. The cognitive changes in dementia often mean that the body is not used. This is due to several factors, for example:

  • Social networks become smaller.
  • It becomes more difficult to figure out complex everyday tasks.
  • It becomes more difficult to remember or find your way.
  • The initiative to stay active weakens.

The cognitive impairment can indirectly contribute to a physical impairment. However, the goal of physical training is not only to improve functional ability, mobility, circulation, and fitness. It is also to support the sense of identity by limiting the risk of physical changes meaning the person retains more of who they are.

Actual functional training, with tools, will usually only be possible in the early stages of dementia. Already learned physical activities can continue well into the mid-stages of the disease (for example, for people who were already trained and active in a particular sport). In later stages, the physical training will take the form of exercise or play, where the focus is also on stimulating the senses, balance, responsiveness, and alertness.

The effects of physical training

Two medical technology assessments (MTV reports) conducted by the Swedish Committee for Medical Evaluation (SBU) and the Canadian Ontario Medical Advisory Secretariat (OMAS)* have systematically reviewed research on the potential effects of physical training and exercise in people with dementia.

The Canadian MTV report found that physical exercise can improve physical function, but it's uncertain if it helps maintain ADL (Activities of Daily Living) functions, which are essential for daily living.

According to the Swedish MTV report, it is widely agreed that physical exercise can improve both physical and mental abilities.

*The conclusions in the Canadian HTA report are based on two review articles from 1999 and 2004, respectively. The conclusions in the Swedish HTA report are based on the review article from 2004, supplemented by five further randomized clinical trials (RCT).


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