Tips for Managing Tasks in Alzheimer’s Disease
In the early-to mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease, patients can still drive, enjoy reading, and enjoy doing crossword puzzles and games.
They can perform tasks such as cooking, folding laundry, gardening, and entertaining. They can still make decisions (sometimes with assistance), and they can still reason and show good judgment.
A person with a dementing illness depends on a certain amount of structure in their daily routine. This consistency is important in helping them minimize the amount of stress the person with memory loss experience.
Multi-step tasks that might have been readily performed in the past now need to be broken down into separate individual tasks. Tasks done frequently and repeatedly before Alzheimer’s disease are often retained the longest. In addition, consider the following:
- Be aware of the amount of time the person with Alzheimer’ disease can attend to a task. Look for signs that frustration is beginning to set in, and divert his attention before the stress becomes overwhelming.
- Do not rush in to help a person with Alzheimer’s disease when he is struggling with dressing, putting clothes back in a closet, opening a care door, setting the table, and other relatively simple activities. Most times, he will accomplish the task if allowed to keep working on it.
- Avoid taking responsibilities away from the person through the use of comments such as, “You can’t do that” or “Give it to me”. Instead, put the emphasis on what the person can perform Sorting coins or stacking papers, unloading the dishwasher, and working with the caregiver on repetitive activities can be very satisfying.
- Try to be generous when the person ants to help; let him help you. Keep adjusting the task so that he is useful.
- Set routine times for eating, playing games, socializing, and quiet reflection.
- Look for ways to adjust the environment to accommodate the person’s changing needs.
- Remain as flexible as possible to accommodate the changing moods of the person with dementia. Rigid schedules should be avoided.