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How can you encourage independence with someone with dementia?  Well, for everyone, there's a central issue in our personality, of "control". We like to be in control of things, we like to know what's going to happen next, we like to be in charge of our lives. We don't like control to be taken away from us. But for people with dementia, that's what happens. They lose control over their life, they're told when to eat, where to eat, what to eat, what to wear. Pretty much every part of their day is controlled.

So the best thing that we can do to help them is to try to give them as much control as possible so that they feel that they're in a more independent state. So, even if it's simple things like, "We're going to have dinner now. Do you want to sit here or here? We're going to go ahead and get dressed, do you want to wear this sweater or this jumper? Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want to go this way or this way?" It sounds small, but to them, at least it's not being led around and given things to do.

Independence gives people the opportunity to have some control, and when you're losing control, in almost every aspect of your life, what better way to give independence than to constantly think about, "What can I do today to give some control back to this person?" And that's how you should spend your day, all day.