Alzheimer’s Disease: Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease will notice many changes. It’s getting to be more difficult to remember things, make decisions, and find your way around. It’s frustrating a good deal of the time, but there are good days and bad days. Here are some things you can do to make things just a little better and to make things feel a bit more "normal" again.
How can I cope with my memory problems?
- Always keep a notebook with you to record important information, phone numbers, names, ideas you have, appointments, your address, and directions to your home.
- Place notes around the house when you need to remember things.
- Label cupboards and drawers with words or pictures that describe their contents.
- Place important phone numbers in large print next to the phone.
- Ask a friend or family member to call and remind you of important things you need to remember, such as meal times, medication times, and appointments.
- Use a calendar to keep track of time and to remember important dates.
- Use photos of people you see often, labeled with their names.
- Keep track of phone messages with an answering machine.
What’s the best way to plan the day?
- Find things to do that you enjoy and are able to do safely.
- It will be easier to accomplish tasks during the times of the day when you feel best.
- Allow yourself the time to do the things you need to do, and don’t feel rushed or let other people rush you.
- If something gets too difficult, take a break.
- Ask for help if you need it.
How can I avoid getting lost?
- Ask someone to go with you when you go out.
- Ask for help if you need it, and explain that you have a memory problem.
What will make communicating easier?
- Always take your time and don’t feel rushed.
- If you need to, ask the person you’re speaking with to repeat what he or she is saying, or to speak slowly if you do not understand.
- Avoid distracting noises and find a quiet place to talk.
Can I continue to drive?
No, driving is a very difficult task. Even persons with very mild symptoms have more crashes. This is a danger to you and others. Talk to your family about an alternative.
How do I take care of myself at home?
- Your doctor or a local Alzheimer’s organization can tell you how to get help with things such as shopping, housekeeping, meals (including home-delivered meals), and transportation.
- Ask a neighbor you trust to keep a set of your house keys.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you to organize your closets and drawers to make it easier for you to find things.
- Keep a list of important and emergency numbers by the phone.
- Have family, friends, or a community service program call or visit daily to ensure that everything is all right.
How do I manage my responsibilities?
- Ask a family member to check things around the house, such as electrical appliances, mail, and perishable food items.
- Arrange for direct deposit of checks, such as your retirement pension or Social Security benefits.
- Inform your bank if you have difficulty keeping track of your accounts and record keeping. They may provide special services for people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
- Ask someone to check your smoke alarm regularly.
National Institute on Aging.
Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral Center.
Carlsson Cynthia M, Gleason Carey E, Puglielli Luigi, Asthana Sanjay, "Chapter 65. Dementia Including Alzheimer's Disease" (Chapter). Halter JB, Ouslander JG, Tinetti ME, Studenski S, High, KP, Asthana S: Hazzard’s Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 6e: www.accessmedicine.com.