Posted on 13/07/2020

How can someone with Alzheimer’s disease live more independently at home?

How can someone with Alzheimer’s disease live more independently at home?

Making positive adaptations to the home can help someone living with Alzheimer’s disease to continue doing daily activities independently and remain at home for longer.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in the UK. For anyone caring for someone who has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease there are many practical tips and products available to help them stay safe and well at home.

Set up reminders to make every day easier

One common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is disorientation concerning the time, date or year, so it can be helpful to have a clock that features the date as well as the time of day/night. Some people may manually update a whiteboard or display the date with a paper calendar at home, but there are dementia clocks especially designed to help people recall the date and time so they can better orientate themselves.

Reminder alarms can be beneficial, especially if there is any medication to take or if important tasks, such as eating a meal or having enough to drink can be forgotten. An automatic pill dispenser can be filled with the correct medication and set to sound an alert at a certain time each day to help a carer or a person living with Alzheimer’s disease to remember which medication they need to take.

Setting daily reminders may differ for each person, depending on their own independence and the stage of their condition. Some carers or family members may wish to go through the day’s activities together and they may find it beneficial for the person living with Alzheimer’s disease to write their own to-do list for the day.

Discover the benefits of colour contrasting objects

Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes cause difficulty with vision and perception of objects, so it can be beneficial to invest in products that contrast against their surroundings to improve visibility. Contrasting objects can be ideal when eating and drinking, with products such as the red or blue two handled beaker, designed to improve comfort and reduce any spills. Colour-contrast can also be helpful in areas throughout the home, including the bathroom, with bright toilet seats or grab bars helping those with Alzheimer’s disease to be more independent in their personal care routine.

Make the home easier to navigate

For those who may become confused about their surroundings and where to locate certain objects (or even different rooms) it can help to put clear signs up on the doors. It may also be beneficial to add a label on cupboards around the home to indicate where to find different items, such as bowls and plates or food. Knowing the right room for the toilet is essential if incontinence is a symptom of someone’s Alzheimer’s disease or they need to get up during the night.

Writing down important information clearly can help to reduce worry. For example, noting phone numbers on a piece of paper and placing it on the wall next to the phone can reduce concerns about forgetting how to call a family member. A photo button telephone can also be used to quickly ring family or friends without having to physically dial a number.

Help to reduce stress at home

There may be times when a person with Alzheimer’s disease loses an object at home, but there are ways to reduce worry and help them to locate it. If it’s an important item that can be easy to lose, such as a set of keys or a purse, a family member or carer may consider the benefits of an object locator set. Key ring beepers are attached to the object and a main remote control has different buttons from A to E that will sound the beeper on the relevant key ring. It can be a good idea to add a label to each letter on the remote control to indicate which item this will help to locate it.

Creating a relaxing bedroom environment can reduce worry during the night and help to support a person’s sleep pattern. Playing soothing music or investing in a sensory product, such as the Nature Sound Pyramid, that plays relaxing sounds and has soft lights that change colour can create a calm mood, helping to reduce stress at night.

If you have a family member or are caring for someone who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and you are having difficulty in providing support for the person, you may wish to contact your local Adult Social Care department who will be able to advise you. At NRS Healthcare we also offer a free product advice line at [email protected], which is run by our friendly clinical team, including OTs, who can offer advice about suitable products for an individual’s needs.

To view more products that can support people who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another memory condition, please browse the NRS Healthcare website.

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