Especially in the early stages, there ’s a lot you can do to help the person you are caring for, to stay independent.

It may be tempting to do things for people with dementia, but they are more likely to feel confident and to retain a sense of self-worth if they are given the chance to do things for themselves, with appropriate support if necessary.

There are ways of making everyday tasks a little easier for the person with dementia.

  • Encourage the person you are caring for to divide tasks and activities into manageable chunks. You might think about writing down some instructions.
  • Learn to be patient. Things may not get done quickly or perfectly first time round.

There are many practical ways to help the person deal with memory problems. Memory aids work by gently reminding the person of easily forgotten facts.

Try the following: –

  • Putting a notice board for messages in an obvious place. You can use this to write notes, reminders that a visitor is coming or that a delivery is going to be made, for example
  • Marking a calendar with the date, or getting an electronic calendar that automatically changes the day and date
  • Encouraging the person you are caring for to keep a notebook or diary to write down important things such as appointments, people’s names, a list of things to do, any thoughts and ideas
  • Pinning a weekly timetable to the wall, adding things to it as you think of them
  • Keeping important things like money, keys and glasses in the same place
  • Having a daily newspaper delivered – the date and day of the week are always on the front page
  • Putting labels on cupboards or drawers to show where things are
  • Placing helpful telephone numbers by the phone where you can see them
  • Writing reminders to lock the door at night or put the rubbish out on a certain day, for example
  • Putting a note on the door as a reminder to take his or her keys
  • Labelling family photographs – those on display and those in albums
  • Encouraging visitors (friends, family and professionals) to write the time and purpose of their visit in a book

(Source: Caring for the person with dementia – a handbook for families and other carers)