With more and more seniors dealing with Alzheimer's and dementia than ever before, experts from all walks of life have been trying to come up with ways to help these individuals with their everyday lives. While the world still waits for a cure for Alzheimer's, many care providers are looking for ways to improve the senior's quality of life and help them through their daily struggles as they cope with this condition.
One of the many things that senior caregivers have been doing in order to help those struggling with dementia-related memory loss is to start using memory aids. Many have found that by using memory aids instead of simply telling a senior what they may be forgetting, that seniors are able to feel more independent and do more on their own. These memory aids can also help prevent issues with frustration in seniors before they occur, by providing seniors with the simple reminders they need before they start feeling overwhelmed by their confusion.
While there are a number of different memory aids that can be used in a senior's home or assisted living room, these are just a few of the many that loved ones rely on each and every day.
Medication Reminder Box
One of the biggest challenges that many seniors deal with when it comes to their everyday responsibilities comes with managing their medication. While many seniors with dementia may need a care provider to help them with their daily medications, for those who must manage their prescriptions on their own, this can be a very challenging part of their day.
A medication reminder box is a great tool for any senior. It features different compartments for each day and for all of the different pills that need to be taken that day. There are even products that come with their own alarms that can alert seniors of when it is time to take their medications. Plus, with a simple glance, any senior can tell if they have already taken their medications that day or if they still need to take their pills.
Smart Phone Alarms
Technology has truly been a great help for seniors who are battling dementia and memory loss. There are a number of apps that are designed to help seniors with everything from where they left their car to when to take their vitamins. Even seniors who don't have an army of apps can benefit from smart phones and use daily alarms as a reminder for what they need to do that day.
In-Home Sticky Notes
Sometimes the biggest sources of frustration for seniors comes from forgetting the littlest of things. This is particularly true in the early stages of Alzheimer's and dementia. Not remembering how to use a television remote or the phone number of a family member can all be very frustrating for any senior. This is why home sticky notes are so helpful.
These little notes can remind any senior of what they need to do during the day and where their everyday items are. These sticky notes can include reminders such as:
- When to return a library book
- Important phone numbers
- What is inside each cabinet
- To brush their teeth before bed
- To wash their hands before cooking
- Where certain food items are
- How to use the television
- To remember to take keys with them before leaving their home
Little daily reminders like this may seem silly at times to some seniors, but when they can't remember where a cup is and get very disoriented, these little notes can really go a long way.
Some seniors dealing with dementia will start forgetting everyday things. Typically, they suddenly start remembering these things periodically throughout the day. It is hard to tell with dementia when a senior will remember and when they won't remember certain things. This is why having a small portable notepad or notebook is such a great idea.
This can be a great way for seniors to write themselves notes on what they need to do, who they need to talk to or any thoughts they may have. Seniors can write these things down when they remember them, or re-visit their notes if they forget something. This also helps many seniors feel more in control of their dementia as they have access to their own personal reminders and memory aids, instead of reminders from someone else.
For seniors dealing with dementia, one of the best things they can do to stay calm and focused is to have a set routine, each and every day. The fewer interruptions to this routine, the better. With this in mind, a great way to make sure that seniors are sticking with their routine is to write out their daily schedule and leave it laminated somewhere in the home. Some seniors may even benefit from having multiple copies around the home.
This routine checklist should include the following:
- A bed time
- Wake up time
- Morning grooming routine
- Breakfast time
- Snack time
- Lunch time
- Exercise time (if applicable)
- Dinner time
- Shower time
- Evening grooming routine
- Pre-bed ritual (listening to music, reading, ect.)
In addition to including what this routine should include, it is best to include the times for each part of the routine so seniors can stay on schedule and if they get confused they can determine what they should be doing when a certain time rolls around.
A Central Calendar
A calendar may be an old-school memory aid, but it is one that can help any senior with their everyday responsibilities and tasks. Set up a large calendar in the senior's living space that is in a central location and easy to read. This calendar should include everything from social engagements, to appointments and even when visitors are going to be stopping by.
The calendar needs to be somewhere that the senior will pass by daily as they may need multiple reminders of upcoming engagements. When a senior is consistently reminded of what they need to do that day, week or month, they are much less likely to be caught off-guard, confused or disoriented when they have changes to their routine.