Routines & reminders

Writing notes to myself does not work as I either forget to read them, do not see them or cover them up.  I leave a card on the floor where I will notice it.  I also leave things to post or take anywhere, in front of the front door.

- Dr Jennifer Bute, diagnosed at 63 with young onset Alzheimer's disease

Routine can be reassuring 

Routines such as dressing, bathing and eating form part of everyday life for us all.  Routines can help you to know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and continue to do things for yourself for as long as possible.

Some people like to go with the flow, but for others consistent routines can be calming and reassuring. Predictable routines can help to decrease your own anxiety, and also decrease stress for those who support you.

You may find it becomes hard to learn new ways of doing things, remember instructions or stay focused for long on a task.  Take things slowly and be patient.  You may find that tasks become easier if they are broken down into sections.  

If you are supporting someone with dementia, keep reminders or instructions simple.  Try to be encouraging and it helps if you can both maintain your sense of humour.  Do bear in mind that routines may need to be simplified as the condition progresses.

Have you locked the door?

Reminders are very helpful.  This could be an alarm clock set to go off at a certain time, a note on the fridge, or signs on cupboards to remind what is inside.  Keeping important things like money, keys or glasses in one place can also help.  

Diaries and electronic calendars are useful ways of reminding about appointments, birthdays and other significant dates and noticeboards and clocks with large faces can be helpful too.  You might want to ask your family or friends to phone you to remind you about things you need to do.  Electronic message systems can remind you to do things like lock the front door and there are now a large number of apps and other memory devices to aid people with dementia.

Our Helpful technology page gives more information on some apps and devices that may be useful.  

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