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Daily Routines and Dementia

As people progress through Alzheimer’s disease and steadily lose many basic abilities, it is important for in home caregivers to continue relating to that person in familiar ways.

“People living in the early stages of Alzheimer's can still engage in activities and make meaningful contributions that bring purpose to their lives,” said Monica Moreno, director of Early-Stage Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association. “As the disease progresses, it is important to continue engaging the person with Alzheimer's mentally, physically and socially.”

Particularly in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease when most people still have mobility and the ability to talk, in home caregivers can provide valuable daily routines for their loved one.

“The Alzheimer's Association recommends that families consider the person with Alzheimer's life-long interests,” said Ms. Moreno. “Whether it's listening to music, gardening, going for walks or even helping out with household tasks, activity and structure will help ensure quality of life for the person with the disease.”

Things as simple as putting away laundry, folding clothes, putting away dishes, raking leaves, and other ordinary household chores can be reassuring and help the person with Alzheimer’s still feel useful. However, no one should expect these things to be done flawlessly—clothes might be put away in the wrong place, for example—but the point is to create tasks that can easily be completed.

 An added benefit to these basic activities is that they use up energy and since people with dementia often have difficulty sleeping at night, physical fatigue can be a blessing. 

 Furthermore, helping a person living with dementia with many daily tasks gives a caregiver the opportunity to watch over them and help them avoid an activity that may cause a fall. A helper can also take on some of the more risky activities that put the person living with dementia in a more hazardous position.