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Managing symptoms

3.1 Managing symptoms to achieve what’s most important

Live a meaningful life with dementia with the help of strategies and therapies

Figure out what is important in your life

Dementia can get in the way of living life. To live life well with dementia, you need to figure out what a meaningful life means to you.

Jill’s meaningful life might mean work on their family farm, whereas Giovanni’s meaningful life might include his morning walk and coffee with friends. Priyanka’s meaningful life might revolve around spending time with her grandchildren, whereas Bruno’s meaningful life might involve his hobby train collection.

For some people living life well means:

  • Doing activities they enjoy. For example, gardening, walking, golf, cooking, or art.
  • Spending time with people. For example, their husband or wife, best friends, children, grandchildren or friendship groups or clubs.
  • Living spiritually. For example, praying or meditating, going to church, mosque or temple, or doing things according to their faith.
  • Working towards a goal. For example, redecorating a room, planning a trip, or volunteering to put on a community event.

Learn more about how others continue to live their lives meaningfully by listening to Stefan & Janni’s story, Bernd Heise’s story, and Helen Rochford-Brennan’s story.

Write down 3 or more things that are important to you in your life, or your life goals. If you get stuck, think about things you enjoy doing, people you care about, what you want to achieve, or things that make you happy. You can use the My life plan worksheet.

Figure out what is getting in the way of life

Now, next to each thing that’s important to you, write down how dementia is getting in the way, or is a barrier to achieving your goals.

Try to be specific and realistic about how dementia gets in the way. For example, rather than writing: “I can’t play bridge any more”, write: “I struggle to think ahead in bridge, and often make mistakes”.

Use the My life plan worksheet which has examples to help guide you to complete your own.

Learn about strategies, therapies and services

Information and strategies on this website may help reduce the impact of dementia on things you enjoy. You can also think up strategies yourself, or devise strategies by talking to your friends, family, doctor or other health professional.

Use the My life plan worksheet which has examples to help guide you to complete your own.


Use the My life plan worksheet

Use the My life plan worksheet to determine your goals, the barriers caused by your dementia diagnosis, and strategies to overcome those barriers. Examples are included on the worksheet as a guide.