Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common forms of dementia; is a progressive illness that affects the brain and a person’s memory. Alzheimer’s can be very challenging for all those involved. However, if you are struggling with a memory impairment illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, there are a few strategies and things you can do to help improve your memory through day to day life.
While for most, it’s recommended to find a memory care facility with trained caregivers who can aid in these daily functions, challenges and requirements; these tips can help make sure you remember those important aspects to your daily schedule.
Establish A Schedule or Routines
- Having a consistent schedule or routine to follow can help those struggling with Alzheimer’s remember what needs to be done through exercising the brain and developing stronger mental connections. Try to fit in extra time in between each event to avoid having to skip anything.
Triggering Positive Memories
- Using familiar pictures, songs or meaningful things from the past can be another memory aid. This can also include familiar smells or other things that impact other senses that can help you remember past events.
Use a Diary or a Calendar
- Using a week-to-view diary that will contain all your daily tasks or things you want to do can be very helpful. For example, you can write down a list of things you want to do or have done in this diary for active record keeping and reference. Make sure you keep your diary in a place where you can easily see it, such as on a study desk, on the kitchen cabinet, or by the telephone.
- You can also put a calendar or notice board of tasks in a place where you will naturally see it in your home, such as on a refrigerator, or on a wall of your bedroom. You may then remove the tasks as you do them throughout the week, slowly covering all necessary responsibilities so they can be accounted for.
- Make it a habit to check your diary, whiteboard, notice board or calendar when you wake up every morning, every mealtime, or each time you have a drink. Always make sure you cross off the date of each day on the calendar so that you will be sure of the date when you wake up the next day.
Medication Reminder Box
- A reminder box with your medication in the right compartments can help keep track of days and times you should be taking medication or whether you have already taken it.
- If you have a tablet device or a smartphone, you can download different apps on the Google Playstore or App store and use them to help with specific tasks. For instance, you can download an app that will remind you to take your medications or remind you to go for an appointment.
- You can put sticky notes in different places throughout your home to remind you of your daily tasks. For example, you can put a sticky note on the refrigerator to remind you that you need to take something out to defrost, or on a PC to remind you to check your email. It is very important to remove the sticky note and throw it in the waste bin once you have completed the task to prevent overlap or complication.
Keep a Journal
- Sticking pictures or writing sentences in a journal can also help you to remember. You can check things you have in your journal to remind you of what you did in the past or how you felt about an event. It also gives you something to discuss and show friends and family members.
- You can also add reminders of things or upcoming events to your journal. For examples, you can keep train tickets, or receipts for groceries in it.
Get the Newspaper
- You should consider getting the newspaper regularly delivered, or buying one every morning. It will always help you keep track of days and dates. Make sure you always arrange old newspapers orderly and neatly, and separate from new ones.
Use a Calendar Clock
- If you don’t have a calendar clock, consider buying one. An automatic calendar clock is an excellent memory aid because it can remind you of the day and date of the week.
Make a Shopping list
- Taking a list of items you want to buy when you go shopping is very helpful. It reminds you of what you need so that you don’t go racking your brain when you get to the grocery store or supermarket. When you pick up an item and put it in your basket, make sure you cross it off the list so you don’t become confused. Always write down all items that have run out in your home so that you can include them in your next shopping list.
- Alternatively, if it is difficult for you to write, you can keep part of the packaging of the items as a reminder that you don’t have it at home. You can also record the names of the items you want to buy using a voice recorder to help you remember.
- Keeping a list of contact numbers of the people who are important to you such as the police, family members, friends, neighbors or doctor is very helpful. Always keep your list in a place that is easily accessible such as on a drawer next to your bed, on a study desk or store it on your mobile phone. It gives you easy access to people you might need to contact when the need arises.
Labeling or Tagging
- You can label or tag items in your home to help remind you of their purpose. Tag the keys to your doors with different colors to help you remember which doors each key opens. For example, you can tag the key to your front door with a yellow colored sticker, and the key to your bedroom with a red colored sticker. You can also label the drawers and cupboards with photos and words that describe what you put in them.
Kitchen Timer and Alarm Clocks
- Set your kitchen timer or alarm clock to remind you when you need take food out of the oven, or when you have an appointment or a meeting with people. Make sure you write down the reason you have set the alarm so that you won’t become confused when it rings or beeps.
Support From Family and Friends
- Tell a family member or friend to call and remind you of the necessary things you want to do throughout the day such as going for an appointment, washing your dirty clothes, taking medication, etc.
Tablet Device or Computer
- Use functions such as reminders and notes on your tablet device to remind you of certain things you want or have to do. You can also use helpful features such as a calendar and to-do-list on your email account to remind you of the things you need to do or the mail you need to reply to when you are using your PC. You may also need to put a sticky note on your PC to remind you to turn it on and check your daily tasks.
- Permanent reminders are also a great memory aid tool. For example, you can write a list of your daily tasks on an A4 paper and laminate it and then stick it on your front door to remind you to take your purse, keys or a shopping list with you. You can also stick a laminated A4 paper on your kitchen cabinet to remind you to where cooking ingredients are located in your kitchen.
Locator and GPS devices
- You can use a locator or GPS device to find a location or items you often mislaid such as a wallet or keys. Attaching a small electronic tag to these items will help you to quickly locate where to find them. If you misplace any of these items, all you need to do is to click a button on the locator device to make the tag beep.
Activities for People with Alzheimer’s
This can include activities such as:
- Movie Night
- Bingo Night
- Pet, music and art therapy.
- Plant potting classes
- Baking Class
Because many people remember things in different ways some of these tips will be more effective than other for some people. It’s important to try each method and determine which strategies are best for your individual needs. Keep in mind though, Alzheimer’s symptoms can progress or change over time, so something that’s effective today might change in the future.
While dealing with progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia can be difficult, these tips can help you remember what needs to be done and make it a little easier to keep track of your day to day tasks.