For the elderly and aging, one of the scariest issues with aging is a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is emotionally charged, filled with uncertainty, and comes with an understanding that daily activities will become challenging and may at some point require in home elder care. The Alzheimer’s Association has a list of ten tips to help patients stay independent. If you are a caregiver, this list is a reminder of the resources you may need or assistance you can provide.
- Get help: Daily tasks that take time and mental effort but can be easily done by a friend, family member or home care service provider are a great place to start. Hire a cleaning or lawn service for your house, for example, or ask a family member to pay bills.
- Safe and Secure: Make risky places such as bathrooms safer by putting in grab bars, or kitchens by installing a fire extinguisher and making sure lighting is adequate. Enroll in a program that uses technology to help get you back home if you get lost.
- Memory Helps: Lists, labels, and notes are all part of giving yourself clues to completing daily tasks. Iconic images of what is in kitchen cabinets or instructions for using appliances will come in handy when memory issues become more challenging.
- Future Plan: There may come a time when at home care can no longer meet your safety needs. “Make plans now for your future care so your family can honor your wishes. A good place to start planning is with Alzheimer’s Navigator, our online guide helping individuals and families create customized action plans.”
- Medicine reminders: Taking your medication is paramount to staying healthy but remembering it is not always easy. Use technology to keep your medications on track.
- Getting Around: If you are no longer able to drive, you may want to have friends at the ready to get you places. Some communities offer special transit for seniors.
- Fraud protection: Guard yourself by registering your phone numbers on the “National Do Not Call List.”
- Activity Helps: Continue with activities you enjoy, keep your brain engaged, or get you moving: walking, dancing, gardening, painting, playing cards or board games. Social, physical and mental stimulation are important for dementia sufferers.
- Confide: Find family, or friends with whom you can “talk openly about your memory loss and allow them to ask questions.” The open communication can bring depth to relationships.
- Get support: Find support from groups such as the Alzheimer’s Association. Doing so will give you referrals to programs and services in your area.
Using these tips as a guide along with friends and family to help, life can begin to look better. Above all, do not be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it whether you are suffering from dementia or helping someone who is suffering.