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People with memory loss have problems with planning. The more they think about an activity, the less they are able to do it -- even though they could do it yesterday or can tell you how to do it! Help the patient and decrease their frustration by doing the following: Have a routine you follow during the day.

While the timing of the routine is not important, the sequence of activities is very important. For example, if the patient gets out of bed, has breakfast, and then bathes and dresses -- it is not a good idea to have them get out of bed, bathe and dress, and then eat breakfast. This produces frustration and anxiety that can accumulate throughout the day and produce increasing problems in late afternoon or at night.

When well-meaning family and friends suggest the patient needs a change of pace, gently reassure them that this may not be in the patient's best interest. Redecorating the house, decorating for the holidays, moving, or even rearranging the furniture can produce problems.

Before moving, redecorating or remodeling consult with a memory loss specialist such as the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale , Department of Neurology, 602-301-8111, or the Alzheimer's Association office nearest you.

Seeking advice in the beginning can save many problems later. Keep holiday decorations simple. Avoid having many long holiday gatherings and parties with large numbers of guests. Simple, quiet festivities are enjoyed more by the patient and do not result in behavior problems.

If the patient demands to be taken home during a party or becomes rude to friends or children, understand this behavior is not aimed at the person.

It is simply the patient's way of telling you he/she is tired or overwhelmed by the activity level and/or changes Travel can be especially difficult.

Plan trips with the help of a knowledgeable professional who regularly helps families manage problems associated with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and travel.

Ask for a copy of the Mayo Clinic Travel Brochure, designed to help families who must travel with people with memory impairment. Occasionally you will plan trips or events that you know will trigger increased confusion. Expect the confusion. Plan to have extra help or medications on hand to see you through this period

Supported by: Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation,
National Caregiving Training Project,
University of Iowa College of Nursing,
Gerontology Nursing Intervention Center
Research Development and intervention Core

Developed by: Geri R. Hall, Ph.D., ARNP, CNS
Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale
13400 E. Shea Boulvard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
Phone: 602-301-8111


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