The following suggestions may help you develop a plan to help a
family member who has an ongoing problem with memory, problem solving,
judgment, or the ability to handle daily tasks. These suggestions are basic and
do not include all the information you will need to care for your family
member. Your doctor may have other suggestions to add to your
Establish a simple daily routine.
Set regular times for meals, baths, hobbies,
and a limited number of activities.
Warn the person about upcoming
changes in the schedule. People with memory problems don't adjust well to
sudden changes in their routine.
Structure the environment to improve memory.
Use calendars, clocks, and bulletin boards
with pictures of the season, month, and upcoming holidays.
Use lists, notes, and other helpful devices as
Write daily activities on a calendar or daily planner
and keep it in a place where it can be seen easily.
Give short instructions. A person with memory
problems may be able to remember only small amounts of information at a time.
Break tasks and instructions into clear,
simple steps, one step at a time.
Use short, simple, familiar words
Provide written as well as verbal instructions
Teach a task in the setting, or a similar setting,
where the person will need to do the tasks. A person with memory problems may
have trouble applying what has been learned in one setting to other
Create a safe environment.
Lock all poisons and medicines and store
them in child-proof containers out of reach.
Use a medicine box
with a separate compartment or section for each day of the week. This will help
the person remember when to take his or her medicines.
Avoid or reduce stress, which may make symptoms
Maintain eye contact and use touch to
reassure the person and show that you are listening.
person as many choices in daily activities as you can. Allow him or her to
select such things as clothing, activities, and foods.
regular stimulation of the senses through touching, singing, exercising, and
hugging. Touch may be better understood than words. Holding hands or giving
hugs may get through when nothing else can.
Ignore behavior that is
disruptive or disturbing. Try to interest the person in another
Avoid arguing with the person about things that don't
really matter. Just change the subject.