Ambassador Series: Tips for the “real world”

Ambassador Allison Crook’s clients/patients often come to her seeking advice, especially on matters of daily life. Today, she gives us a few tips on how to complete daily tasks when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. ?????

I have had many family members come to me feeling helpless, asking what they can do to help.

At times, I tell them, modification of the environment is the only functional thing that can be done to decrease unwanted behaviors or to compensate for memory loss.

Below are my suggestions to help with day to day life:

1. Use visual aids

– Use bright and simple signs in all capital letters

– Label everything: drawers (clothing); cabinets (food, plates, cups)

– Place notes by the telephone (my doctor is…my doctor??????s number is; call 911 for an emergency; I have diabetes and take insulin)

– Obtain and utilize illness/allergy alert bracelets

2. Memory aids

– Use noticeable colors (red, yellow)

– Again, use signs (turn off the oven, lock the doors)

– Create a medication list

– Create a calendar (mark off each day, birthdays)

– Keep a journal: “my address is…”; “I have 4 children”; “my doctors appointment is…”; “my granddaughter is getting married in November”

3. Use auditory aids (There are smartphone apps for this)

– Set alarms

– Use talking reminders (smartphone apps)

4. Create a memory book

– This is a wonderful way to give a person with dementia visual reminders about their life or important events.

-Picking out the pictures and putting the book together can be a fun activity for the whole family. It is also a great conversation starter once completed!

-Items to include in the memory book: pictures of where the person grew up with the address written underneath; pictures of children with names and ages; wedding photos with names, dates, and places; obituaries (if appropriate); travel pictures with locations

5. Follow a strict daily schedule

– if the person prefers to shower at night instead of the morning or vice versa, then allow for that.

– if the person has always gone to bingo on Wednesday and church on Sunday then continue with that routine as much as possible.

– Write the daily routine down and let the person refer to it throughout the day.

6. Other helpful modifications:

-Have a bright, clutter free environment

-Use night lights

-Decrease background noise or too many people talking at once

-Remove mirrors on the walls as they may cause confusion or fear

7. Have the person participate in daily tasks.

– Here are a few ideas: Pairing socks; Watering garden; Setting the table; Folding laundry or napkins; Cutting coupons; Putting away dishes

Following written directions for simple tasks like laundry; Put mail in mailbox; Getting the mail; Putting stamps on mail/letters

I hope you have found this to be useful information!!

The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with Sheltering Arms, will be holding a Safe at Home – Caregiver

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter ( consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.