In the earlier stages of dementia it isn’t too late for your elderly family member to start developing habits to bolster her memory. Building up her confidence with these tools now can keep her using them when she really needs them most.
Write out the Day’s Schedule.
Routines and schedules help your elderly family member to know what to expect from each day. Many of her days might be very similar, but if she has appointments or other events, it’s important that she’s aware of those. Using a large calendar on which you can write a lot of details can help a lot, as can a written daily summary of what each day has in store.
Use a System of Prompts.
Prompts and reminders also help an awful lot. They keep your senior on target and, if she has a lot going on during a particular day, they help her get everywhere she needs to go. Elder care providers can be especially helpful with prompts during the day. They have a great deal of experience in helping aging seniors dealing with memory issues to hit their goals for each day.
Encourage Her to Keep a Notebook Handy.
If your elderly family member keeps a notebook handy, that can proactively remind her to jot down different reminders to herself throughout the day. She might also find that it’s helpful to write down interactions that she has during the day, questions she wants to ask, and anything else that occurs to her. Later, she can remind herself what happened on a given day by referring to her notebook.
Use Labels Everywhere.
It can be frustrating for your aging adult to open cabinets, drawers, and closets to find the items she needs because she can’t remember what is in those storage areas. Labels can help immensely with that. You might also want to consider using clear storage containers within closets and drawers to help keep the contents visible once those areas are opened.
Make Important Information Obvious and Easy to Find.
Above all, important information that your elderly family member needs to access should to be obvious and extremely easy for her to find. Using highlighters and brightly-colored sticky notes can help important items to stand out. You might also want to include important information and phone numbers on a piece of paper somewhere obvious, like on the front of the refrigerator.
Using a mix of these different techniques can help your elderly family member to get used to the memory issues that she’s experiencing. Your senior can use these strategies to remain independent for far longer than she might initially think she can after a diagnosis of dementia.