A little support makes a big difference

Help me orientate myself

A few simple reminders can be an effective way of keeping people living with dementia oriented.

Here are some ideas and suggestions for helpful reminders to reduce stress for people living with dementia.

Wear a name tag

Wear a clear name tag (if possible, with at least 18pt font) so that the person can easily identify you and remind themselves of who you are. It’s likely to make the person feel more relaxed if they don’t have to worry about remembering your name.

Continue to introduce yourself

Introduce yourself by name and occupation each time you enter the person’s room and explain the reason for your visit. Don’t assume the person will remember who you are and what your role is after your initial introduction. Continuing to remind them of who you are and how you are helping them will prevent them becoming confused and help them feel at ease.

Put information in writing

It’s important to put any key information the person will need during their stay in writing, so they can refer to it as a reminder when needed. This may include things like how to contact the nurse, how to find the bathroom, when they can expect visits from hospital staff and family and friends, as well as the reason for their hospital visit.

Allow familiar objects to be placed around the room

Placing familiar objects around the person’s room can help to make them feel more comfortable and oriented, particularly for longer hospital stays, respite or when transitioning into residential aged care. These may include things from the person’s home such as family photos, cushions, blankets or other personal items.

Use orienting names

It can be very helpful to insert orienting names into conversations to remind the person who you are talking about. For example, “Your son, Jack”, or “Your doctor, Doctor Williams”. Want to learn more about dementia? Go to our Resources section for guides, help sheets, videos and other resources.

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.

Dementia Australia’s national library service offers print and digital resources about dementia. Explore information related to these tips by accessing the library guide.