Alzheimer's Disease: Tips for Maintaining a Normal Life
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.
How Do I Take Care of Myself at Home?
To make sure you are well taken care of at home, put some of these measures into place early so they become routine:
- Local Alzheimer organizations or your doctor will be able to tell you how to get help with things like shopping, housekeeping, meals (including home-delivered meals), and transportation.
- Ask a neighbor you trust to keep a set of house keys.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you to organize your closets and drawers to make it easier for you to find things.
- Ask a family member to check things out around the house, such as electrical appliances, mail, and perishable food items.
- Keep a list of important and emergency numbers by the phone.
- Have family, friends, or a community service program call or visit daily to ensure that everything is all right.
- Ask someone to check your smoke alarm regularly.
How Do I Maintain My Responsibilities?
- Arrange for direct deposit of checks, such as your retirement pension or Social Security benefits.
- Inform your bank if you have difficulty keeping track of your accounts and record keeping. They may provide special services for people who have Alzheimer's.
It is important to realize that at some point, it will become too difficult or dangerous for you to live by yourself. But, in the earliest stages of the disease, many people do manage on their own -- with support and help from friends, family, and community programs and with simple adjustments and safety practices in place.