Managing everyday tasks as a person with dementia

There are ways for people with dementia to adapt everyday tasks so that they are easier to do when living alone.

How can I manage everyday tasks as a person with dementia who lives alone?

We all have our own ways of doing things, but dementia makes everyday tasks more difficult, especially as it progresses. You may also have other conditions that make things harder, such as hearing loss or problems with your sight, or both.

When you live alone, you’ll need to find ways to adapt how you do things. This will depend on your symptoms and the particular problems these cause.

You may have to develop ways of remembering regular things you have to do such as taking your medication or leaving out the bins. Or you may need to develop ways of managing everyday tasks around the home, such as cooking, cleaning or washing.

Tips for making everyday tasks more manageable when living alone

The following tips may help you to make everyday activities manageable:

Use reminders to help you go about your day

  • If you have memory problems, a diary, calendar or post-it notes can help you remember appointments, tasks and visits.
  • Computers, tablets, digital assistants and smartphones also have apps you can use to set reminders. You can also save important numbers into a phone so they’re easy to call.
  • Put a note by the door to remind you to lock up at night, or to remember your keys and wallet when you go out. You can get technology to help with this, such as a device that plays a recorded reminder when you open the front door.
  • Put labels and pictures on cupboards to remind you where things are. You could keep frequently used items – such as cups, plates, or cutlery – on the side.
  • Try keeping to a regular routine and doing the most difficult things early in the day (or at the time of day you feel at your best).

Try different equipment to make tasks easier

  • If you forget to take medication, dosette boxes (a box with separate compartments for days of the week and times of day) or automatic pill dispensers can help. Speak to your pharmacist or GP.
  • You can get ‘locator devices’ that help you find things you’ve misplaced. You attach a small tile to the object, and if you misplace it you can push a button that makes the tile beep. If you think equipment or adaptations might help, talk to an occupational therapist.

Get local support

  • If you find it difficult to visit the shops, you could ask your local council whether shopping buses are available in your area. These may take you directly from your home to the supermarket door. Alternatively, if you use the internet you may find online shopping useful.
  • If you’re finding it harder to cook, you could have meals delivered to you – this service is often known as ‘meals on wheels’. Or you could choose ready meals that are easy to cook. If you still enjoy cooking but need help to continue, you could ask a family member or friend to help you. You may also be able to access assistance as part of a care plan from your council, or by paying a private care agency.
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