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It can be easy to assume that people living with dementia need help with everything – but that’s not the case.

People with dementia should be given space to do things on their own, so they can retain independence and self-worth. If they need help with something, they’ll ask for it.

When should you give people with dementia space?

If you know someone with dementia, there may be situations where you are tempted to take charge of what they are doing.

Instead, try to consider how you can give a person with dementia more space in the following scenarios.


When talking to the person, make sure you listen and give them the time they need to have their say.


When organising an event or activity for the person, ask them directly what they would like to do and if they’d like to be involved in the planning process.

Problem solving

When the person is trying to solve a problem, give them the space and time to work it out on their own. Ask them if they need your help and how they’d like you to help them.

Not responding

If the person isn’t responding to you verbally, be patient and give them time. Try not to rush the person or speak for them.


When the person is performing a task, give them plenty of time and try not to take over or micromanage them.

Take our quiz to help you discover better ways to give support

Take our online quiz to explore the best things you can do, in a range of different scenarios, to give people with dementia the space they need.

The National Dementia Helpline is a free service that provides information and advice to all people who would like to know more about dementia or access services and support.

Find out more

Dementia Australia’s national library service offers a comprehensive collection of print and digital resources about dementia. Explore the resources guide for this Dementia Action Week daily tip.

View the guide