Alzheimer's Disease: Tips for Maintaining a Normal Life
Living with Alzheimer's disease is a challenge for anyone. It's difficult to remember things, make decisions, and find your way around the way you used to. It can be frustrating a good deal of the time, but there are good days and bad days. Here are some helpful tips and things you can do to make things easier for yourself -- to make things feel a bit more normal again.
How Do I Cope With My Memory Problems?
To help cope with memory problems:
- Always keep a book with you to record important information, phone numbers, names, ideas you have, appointments, your address, and directions to your home.
- Place sticky notes around the house when you need to remember things.
- Label cupboards and drawers with words or pictures that describe their contents.
- Place important phone numbers in large print next to the phone.
- Ask a friend or family member to call and remind you of important things that you need to do in the day, like meal times, medication times, and appointments.
- Use a calendar to keep track of time and to remember important dates.
- Use photos of people you see often labeled with their names.
- Keep track of phone messages by using an answering machine.
What's the Best Way to Plan the Day?
In planning your day:
- Find things to do that you enjoy and are able to do safely on your own.
- It will be easier to accomplish tasks during the times of the day when you feel best.
- Allow yourself the time to do the things you need to do, and don't feel rushed or let other people rush you.
- If something gets too difficult, take a break.
- Ask for help if you need it.
How Do I Avoid Getting Lost?
To keep from getting lost:
- Ask someone to go with you when you go out.
- Ask for help if you need it and explain that you have a memory problem.
- Always take directions for where you're going with you.
What Will Make Communicating Easier?
Communicating with others will be easier if you:
- Always take your time, and don't feel rushed.
- If you need to, ask the person you're speaking with to repeat what he/she is saying or to speak slowly if you do not understand.
- Avoid distracting noises, and find a quiet place to talk.
What About Driving?
Driving can be of particular concern for Alzheimer's patients. Here are some things to consider:
- Have someone else drive you where you need to go.
- If you tend to get lost or confused easily, consider alternative modes of transportation.
- Drive only in areas that are familiar to you.
- Contact organizations like the Alzheimer's Association to learn what local transportation services are available.
- The Department of Motor Vehicles will assess your driving skills if you're not sure whether you should drive.
- At some point, it may no longer be safe for you to drive.