Northwester Offers Great Alzheimer's Tips
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Some of the most practical info I've ever read:
Structure the environment
- Perhaps the most useful factor in preserving orientation is creating a home environment that is simple, orderly, and predictable, yet also allows freedom of movement. The more variability in the patient's surroundings, the more likely it is that he or she will become confused and disoriented.
- One room, or a portion of a room, can be modified to fit the needs of the patient as an "orientation area." This helps create simplicity and order in the home environment. This orientation area should be centrally located and easily accessible.
- Items essential to the patient for daily living activities, such as eyeglasses, keys, and writing accessories, might be placed in this area. Thus, the orientation area can serve as a focal location in which the patient can find orientation clues, specific information, and items needed in the course of a day.
- A clock (perhaps digital), a calendar, and a bulletin board or slate will provide a means for keeping track of the time and important messages.
- A daily schedule of activities for the patient and family members should be posted to assist the patient in remembering what appointments or activities are scheduled and where family members are at all times.
- Labeled pictures of family members, close friends, or pets will help the patient associate names with faces (such as, brother John); our cat (Sigmund).
- Structure can be imposed on the remaining portions of the house by labeling drawers, closets, or rooms.
- Avoid changing the arrangement of furniture, color schemes, or anything else that will reduce familiarity of the surroundings.
- Make sure that frequently used areas such as the bathroom and hallways are well lit at night.
- Keep the bedroom located as close to the bathroom as possible and have conspicuous cues directing the patient to the bathroom.
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