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Dementia - Daily Living

Dementia is a disease characterized by the loss of cognitive or intellectual function. Common symptoms include memory loss, difficulties in performing complex tasks, misplacing items, misidentifying people, difficulty in decision making and orientation, getting lost in familiar places, becoming confused in the middle of a conversation, unable to comprehend movies or news items, losing a prior ability in cooking, paying bills, or even a change in personality.

People who suffer from dementia will eventually be unable to take care of themselves and require extra care. Appropriate caring techniques including careful structuring of daily routines and physical and social environment are useful in helping persons with dementia to optimize the use of their remaining strengths and self-care ability and to live with dignity

Online videos - Assistive device for medication.

Tips for caring in daily living

1) Home-like environment

  • A familiar homely environment is always calming and relaxing.
  • Avoid making big changes to major furniture or layout of the environment to avoid causing confusion.

2) A safe environment

  • Lighting of the house should be sufficient for the patient to see clearly. A quiet environment enables the patient to concentrate more easily.
  • Organizing and arranging the home in an orderly manner reduces the risk of fall.
  • Avoid using large mirrors or windows that could cause confusion by the reflections they produce.
  • Keep all safety risks such as sharp tools or toxic substances out of reach.

3) Balanced daily routine

  • Simple and regular daily routines help lessen confusion, e.g. set specific times for meals, medication, exercise and sleep

4) Tasks simplification

  • Activities and routines should be adapted to allow patient to participate as much as possible. For example, easy-to-put-on clothing, and Velcro fastening could be used to encourage participation in dressing.
  • Assistive devices could also be used to make life easier, e.g. use drug dispenser box to organize drugs, use alarm clock to remind important activities, hot water flask with pump for safety and convenience.

5) Appropriate stimulation

  • Keep windows open to enable client to experience the change of time and weather.
  • Caregivers may need to initiate activities that patients are familiar with and allow them to complete the tasks as much as possible by considering patients' capacity e.g. self-care activities such as combing and dressing and light household tasks.
  • Arrange regular meeting with relatives and friends or outings to provide opportunity to use the abilities they still possess.

6) Orientation

  • Put calendars and large clocks in rooms at eye level in order to remind them of the time. Greeting, introduction and explanation of the activity would orientate patients to time, place, and person.

7) Use of cues

  • Environmental aids and cues could be used to help memory, e.g. label drawers or cabinets according to their contents, put signs to indicate toilet. Diary, checklist or notes could be used to remind tasks to be done, e.g. to stick a note of "turn off stove", "turn off light" and "Keys" onto door of main entrance to remind doing important tasks before leaving the house.