4 Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips for When Daily Tasks Become Hurdles

If you care for someone facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you know the pain and frustration that can stem from seeing their diminished ability to perform some daily tasks. While there is no single solution to these difficulties, researchers at the Mayo Clinic and memory care experts at CaringKind have charted effective strategies to help caregivers navigate them on a day-to-day basis.

Track Daily Tasks

Begin by making a list of daily tasks that have become the most challenging. This helps caregivers prioritize which need the most attention and assistance. For example, someone with dementia may have no issues planning a wardrobe for the week, but may have difficulty remembering to take medications. Naming and putting focus on the biggest challenges makes the responses easier to figure out – and can help determine where friends, family, or a care team can most effectively spend their time and energy.

Knowing what causes stress allows you to plan and decide the types of activities to participate in accordingly. Over time, these notes can help caregivers feel less overwhelmed and can be a resource for tracking patterns and changes.

Reduce Frustration

Schedule wisely. Caregivers know there are certain times of day when dementia sufferers feel more refreshed and alert. Having a daily routine lets you use these periods to schedule tasks that require more effort. Since feeling rushed can hasten symptoms, it is important to provide extra time to complete tasks and allow for breaks.

Within the structure of a daily routine, having choices on how to spend time is ideal. On a particular afternoon, would the one you care for prefer to go on a walk or watch a movie? Offering a manageable number of options reduces stress for dementia sufferers and lets them draw more joy from daily life.

Create a Safe Environment

As dementia progresses, impaired judgement increases a person's risk of injury. Whether at home or at a care facility, a living environment that anticipates risks is of paramount importance. Avoid things like obtrusive rugs, extension cords, or clutter that could cause stumbles and falls. It’s also best to install grab bars in strategic locations – especially in the bathroom – before they’re needed.

Dedicated spaces without too many distractions are key to reducing stress. Turning off the television during meals or conversations, for instance, can make it easier for someone with dementia to focus by eliminating additional noise. Conversely, having a space to engage with others and participate in hobbies reduces isolation and allows for connectivity on their own terms.

Stay Flexible

When developing coping strategies, it is important to acknowledge what works well for one person may not work for another. Additionally, strategies that work one day may not work the next. The more flexible you are, the better you can fine-tune strategies to help with each situation.

For example, if someone with dementia fixates on wearing a certain set of clothes, rather than forcing them to wear different outfits, having multiple versions of the preferred ones presents less stress. By being flexible and working around frustrations instead of through them, you can further the overall goal of memory care and improve the quality of life for both the person you care for and yourself.

The challenges of dementia are unique and personal to each family facing them. For many, dedicated memory care in a senior living community is the best place to provide the level of care someone needs. Guided by leaders in the field like Mayo Clinic and CaringKind, Coterie Senior Living offers premier memory care in its New York City and San Francisco communities.

Learn more about Coterie Memory Care and assisted living services at Coterie Luxury Senior Living.

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