WellSpan Home

Memory Problems: Tips for Helping the Person With Daily Tasks

Topic Overview

The following suggestions may help you develop a plan to help a family member who has an ongoing problem with memory, problem solving, judgment, or the ability to handle daily tasks. These suggestions are basic and do not include all the information you will need to care for your family member. Your doctor may have other suggestions to add to your plan.

  • Establish a simple daily routine.
    • Set regular times for meals, baths, hobbies, and a limited number of activities.
    • Warn the person about upcoming changes in the schedule. People with memory problems don't adjust well to sudden changes in their routine.
  • Structure the environment to improve memory.
    • Use calendars, clocks, and bulletin boards with pictures of the season, month, and upcoming holidays.
    • Label objects.
    • Use lists, notes, and other helpful devices as reminders.
    • Write daily activities on a calendar or daily planner and keep it in a place where it can be seen easily.
  • Give short instructions. A person with memory problems may be able to remember only small amounts of information at a time.
    • Break tasks and instructions into clear, simple steps, one step at a time.
    • Use short, simple, familiar words and sentences.
    • Provide written as well as verbal instructions whenever possible.
  • Teach a task in the setting, or a similar setting, where the person will need to do the tasks. A person with memory problems may have trouble applying what has been learned in one setting to other settings.
  • Create a safe environment.
    • Lock all poisons and medicines and store them in child-proof containers out of reach.
    • Use a medicine box with a separate compartment or section for each day of the week. This will help the person remember when to take his or her medicines.
    • Review all medicines and dosages with a doctor or pharmacist. Many medicines can cause confusion.
    • Put bells on doors and provide an identification bracelet for a person who might wander outside and become lost.
    • Make your home safe from falls.
  • Avoid or reduce stress, which may make symptoms worse.
    • Maintain eye contact and use touch to reassure the person and show that you are listening.
    • Allow the person as many choices in daily activities as you can. Allow him or her to select such things as clothing, activities, and foods.
    • Provide regular stimulation of the senses through touching, singing, exercising, and hugging. Touch may be better understood than words. Holding hands or giving hugs may get through when nothing else can.
    • Ignore behavior that is disruptive or disturbing. Try to interest the person in another activity.
    • Avoid arguing with the person about things that don't really matter. Just change the subject.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofNovember 20, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×