A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may begin to notice some changes. You may realize it’s becoming more difficult to remember things, make decisions, and find your way around. You often feel frustrated. To follow are some suggestions for making your daily life a little easier to manage.
How can I cope with my memory problems?
- Always keep a notebook with you to record important information, phone numbers, names, ideas you have, appointments, your address, and directions to your home.
- Place 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 you need to remember, such as meal times, medication times, and appointments. If you have a smart phone, set up alarms and calendar alerts.
- Use a hard copy calendar or a smart phone’s clock, calendar and alarms 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 with an answering machine or voicemail on a smart phone.
What's the best way to plan the day?
- Get organized. Using a daily planner may help you accomplish your goals for the day.
- Find things to do that you enjoy and are able to do safely.
- Perform tasks during the times of the day when you feel best.
- Allow yourself the time to do the things you need to do. Never feel rushed or let other people rush you.
- Take a break if something gets too difficult.
- Ask for help if you need it.
How can I avoid 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.
- If you have a smart phone, set up your home address and desired destination on a map app. Even better, turn on the talking function of the map app for step-by-step directions.
What will make communicating easier?
- Always take your time and don't feel rushed.
- If you need to, ask the person you're speaking with to repeat what he or she is saying, or to speak more slowly if you do not understand.
- Avoid distracting noises and find a quiet place to talk.
Can I continue to drive?
- Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about driving safety. Eventually all persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease will need to stop driving. Driving is a very difficult and complex task. Even persons with very mild symptoms are at greater risk for motor vehicle accidents. This is a danger to you and others. Talk to your family and doctor or healthcare provider about other transportation options.
How do I take care of myself at home?
- Your doctor or healthcare provider or a local Alzheimer’s organization can tell you how to get help with things such as shopping, housekeeping, meals (including home-delivered meals), and transportation.
- Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member you trust to keep a set of your house keys.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you organize your closets and drawers to make it easier for you to find things.
- 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.
How do I manage my responsibilities?
- Ask a family member to check things around the house, such as electrical appliances, mail, and perishable food items.
- 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 disease.
- Ask someone to check your smoke alarm regularly.