Your local Alzheimer Society can give you more activities and ideas to help you stay socially connected. Check out what programs and services are available near you.
"It’s true that I can see changes in myself, but I still live in my own apartment and I volunteer at the pet rescue shelter. I also attend my support group at the Alzheimer Society. It’s been a lifesaver for me; the great leadership and deep friendships I’ve formed have helped to keep my spirit strong." - Tanis (pictured), from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Tanis lives with vascular dementia.
Including meaningful social activities in your day is important for everyone – but is especially important to help you keep your brain healthy for as long as possible. Dementia can be isolating. Loneliness, among other complicated emotions, can affect your mental well-being.
Hear more from Tanis about how to live well with dementia. Read Tanis' story.
Finding opportunities to interact with the people around you will help you stay engaged. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings, your hopes and worries or simply sharing a good laugh can provide the support and encouragement you need.
"Start a conversation! Whenever I see an elderly person waiting for the bus, inside the train, or just picking produce from the grocery store, I always try to start a conversation with them. I think this is a good way of getting connected with your community." - Mario, from Burnaby, British Columbia. Mario lives with mixed dementia (vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease).
Whether you volunteer at a pet rescue shelter like Tanis, or start conversations like Mario, there are plenty of ways to stay socially connected. Here are a few tips (that can also help people reduce their risk of getting dementia):
Make the most of your daily opportunities to socialize
Chat with your taxi driver or store clerk; make conversation in the elevator.
Practice a random act of kindness
It could be as small as smiling at someone else passing by – paying your happiness forward will not only brighten someone else's day, but yours as well!
Find time to volunteer
Whether it's participating in service clubs or joining a hobby group, you'll find that there are many healthy benefits to volunteering. It can build self-esteem and confidence, and expand your network of social support.
Combine social interaction with an activity
It could be a physical activity like walking together or a fitness class, or it could be something like a book club or a play. Ask someone to try a brain-challenging game together. Enjoy yourself while you positively impact your brain health.
Maintain old friendships and make new ones
Stay social through work, volunteer activities, travel, hobbies, family and friends. Be open to new experiences – accept invitations and extend a few of your own. Keep up your old and new friendships through talking on the phone, chatting online via email or Facebook or even writing a letter.
To learn more about living well with dementia, you can download our Heads Up for Healthier Living brochure (print-friendly version), for people living with Alzheimer's disease and their families. Even if you have another type of dementia, the tips and strategies in this brochure can help you live well.
More useful links and resources
Heads up for healthier living. Alzheimer Society of Canada. This downloadable brochure can help people living with Alzheimer's disease and their families make lifestyle choices to stay healthy and live well with dementia. The tips and strategies in this brochure are applicable to people living with other types of dementia as well.
Live to Be Social - Be Social to Live. These resources explore the role of social isolation and loneliness as a risk factor for dementia, and what you can do to protect your brain health. Defy Dementia, Baycrest.