Sunday, November 22, 2009

Environmental Adaptations

There are many books (including my own) that describe in detail ways to adapt the environment to make a person with Alzheimer's disease more independent and less agitated. Here are 10 simple tips:
  1. Use visual cues to guide where the person needs to go. For example, leave the bathroom door slightly open with a big bright picture and printed word "Toilet" on the door. Keep the path clear and easy to walk to with a night light on.
  2. Do the opposite to discourage going places- such as keeping the door to the basement a color that blends in with the walls. Consider blocking it with furniture
  3. Provide simple labels or signs such as "Use soap" near the soap dish and label dresser draws with "shirts" or " underwear".
  4. Remove remote controls and most technology that is just confusing and frustrating.
  5. Use a large number, simple phone and set number 1 to call a helper. Add a sign next to the phone that says "Press number one to call ________"
  6. Set the television to the person's favorite station. Cover the button that changes stations with brown tape. Highlight the button that turns the TV on and off with bright orange nail polish.
  7. Disconnect the stove and microwave if the person cannot safely use them and fill the refrigerator with prepared cut up vegetables and fruits, cheeses, sandwiches and other finger foods.
  8. Provide a digital clock with date, day of week and time. Some people obsess over this information and then you can just tell them to check the clock.
  9. Remove clutter
  10. Avoid glare that may contribute to faulty visual perceptions. Use curtains that let in some light, but not enough to cause glare or blinds that can be adjusted according to the outdoor lighting. Position the television so that light does not shine on it. Special low vision lamps are designed to decrease glare. Add lots of good overhead and table lighting.
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