COPING: Early-stage dementia

The Age UK website includes many useful information leaflets on a wide range of subjects. This extract is taken from their laflet on coping with Early Stage Dementia (pdf file)

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with the challenges of dementia. Here are some ideas that have helped other people.

  • Follow a routine. Doing things at the same time each day or week can reassure you and help stimulate your memory.
  • If there are things you need to do regularly, like locking the doors at night or putting out the recycling, pin notes up in prominent places.
  • Carry a notebook to write down your daily tasks.
  • Put important things, like your keys or glasses, in the same place every time so that you know where to find them.
  • Use simple gadgets, for example, a clock that shows the date and day of the week, or a pill box with different compartments for different days and times.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say you don’t understand or have forgotten what was said.
  • Put important telephone numbers by the phone.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family so you don’t become isolated. If you find conversations between large groups hard to follow, perhaps meet friends one or two at a time.
  • Carry a helpcard that tells people you have dementia and includes the contact details of someone who can help. This can be useful if you’re in a difficult situation and need assistance. These are available from the Alzheimer’s Society.
  • Make sure other people don’t take over your life – they could think they’re being helpful by doing as much for you as possible.

Making your home safe and comfortable doesn’t have to be expensive. For instance, good lighting can make a big difference for someone with dementia. Visit the ‘Home environment and dementia’ section of NHS Choices for some affordable ideas: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/dementia-guide/Pages/dementia-home-environment.aspx

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