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3.1 Dealing with memory and thinking difficulties

Memory and thinking difficulties are common to dementia, but don’t have to define your life.

Making changes to support someone with dementia

People often believe that nothing can be done following a diagnosis of dementia. This is not true.  

Many people have told us that it is helpful to think of the symptoms of dementia like any other disability. Whether it’s arthritis or a stroke, people learn to make changes so that they can still do things to look after themselves, get around and live life. The same is true for dementia.  

Many care partners have told us that supporting someone close to them can be a positive experience. However, it can also be mentally and physically tiring. Supporting someone with dementia is not about giving up your life, it is about making choices that support the person with dementia so they can function better as well as lighten the load for you.  

Memory and thinking difficulties

Difficulties with memory and thinking are two of the defining features of dementia.  

The types of memory problems that people with dementia experience vary widely, especially in the early stages of the disease. Different types of dementia will have different effects on memory. For example, some people may have trouble remembering events, whereas others may have more difficulty remembering faces. In general, short-term memory, or memory for very recent things, is harder to recall for people with dementia, while long-term memory for people and events in the medium to distant past are much easier to recall. 

There are many strategies available to address problems with memory and thinking.  

Use the Living My Life, My Way worksheet


Print the Living My Life, My Way worksheet and go through it with the person you support.

Help them to write down their goals, and then:

  • Identify barriers that get in the way
  • Identify strategies to overcome those barriers. Strategies can be from this website, your doctor, or ones that you create.