Dementia is a word that we have come to hear more and more frequently in daily life. But what does it mean?

The term dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

Cheneys Lodge in Seaford is a not for profit organisation, which offers housing and care services for older people. And they have put together some top tips on living with dementia.

How to keep safe in the home

It is essential to create safe and supportive environments where people living with dementia can live comfortably, maintain their independence and not feel restricted in any way. Everyone will experience dementia in their own way. The type of risks they face, and strategies to manage these, will depend on the individual and their needs.

• Colour contrasts are often a quick and effective way of helping surroundings to stand out – for example, painting handrails, doors and furniture in different colours.

• Surrounding a person with photos or images that trigger some favourite memories can be helpful.

• Labelling cupboards and objects with pictures and words so that they can be more identifiable.

• Make everything in the home easily recognisable.

• Where possible, devices that only have one function are easier to identify to use, for example a kettle.

• Place clear instructions that can easily be followed somewhere visible.

• Make sure the kitchen is well lit.

• If there are concerns about using gas or electrical appliances inappropriately, isolation valves can be fitted so that the gas cooker cannot be turned on and left on. Devices are also available for electric cookers.

• If the person’s ability to recognise danger is declining, consider removing potentially dangerous implements such as sharp knives, but place other items for everyday use within easy reach.

For more support and information on dementia, visit East Sussex County Council