AN OTLEY care home manager is offering advice to those who are looking after a relative with dementia.

Louise Bulcock, from Anchor’s Teal Beck House, is sharing her professional knowledge of the subject as part of Dementia Action Week.

She said: “It can be a huge strain on relatives looking after someone living with dementia but there are simple steps which could help them be less confused and anxious

“ Dementia affects people’s short-term memory but their long-term memory can remain unaffected.

“So while the person might find the here and now confusing, looking at artefacts and photos from their past can help initiate conversation and help them express their emotions.

“Having a reminiscence box of old photos of family holidays and get-togethers, CDs of their favourite songs and favourite films, or items associated with a hobby will help stimulate them and make them feel happier.

“It might be they won’t remember a conversation created by this reminiscence box - but the positive emotions this creates will remain with them.”

Louise added that continuing any activity which the person enjoyed before being diagnosed with dementia, such as going for walks or playing a musical instrument, would raise their spirits.

She said: “Electronic tablets and virtual reality headsets are a great resource whether it’s for looking at an area where the person grew up or continuing a favourite pastime.”

Anchor, meanwhile, has conducted research which shows that using colour contrasts in home design - such as having doors and hand rails painted in different colours to the walls - can help reduce anxiety and accidents.