Helpful Hints for Living with Dementia
Vascular dementia is just one form of dementia, along with Alzheimer’s, Early Onset, and others. This particular form of dementia is different that the rest in that it is not age-related and its progression is slower. In many ways, if I could choose a form of dementia to get, it would be vascular dementia. In my case, I didn’t have to choose; I developed vascular dementia after a series of mini strokes over a two year period. It’s now been about two…maybe almost three…years since I was diagnosed…I think. I really can’t remember. That part of my memory, my short term memory, is pretty much gone now. Throughout the time I have written this blog, I have shared my life and how I’ve tried to deal with the dementia. I’d like to take this particular blog to share ideas about making life easier for the one with dementia.
1. Laughter! One must not take one’s self too seriously, nor should the loved ones around him/her.
2. Try not to walk a tightrope: allow loved ones to fill in words you can’t remember. However, don’t start relying on them too much to speak for you!
3. Socialize. Have friends in, talk on the phone, go out with friends, go to the senior center.
4. Turn OFF the TV! I am so much more active now since I don’t turn on the TV between 9 AM and 3 PM. I have more energy, too.
5. Get outside in the sunshine for a little while each day—free Vitamin D!
6. Learn something new each day--even if you have to re-learn it the next!
7. Play games—board games, card games, word games, Wii or other video games.
8. Try to cook using directions. Even if you have to look at the directions twenty times—do it! Don’t rely on long term memory menu items. Take a poke at making something new! Just remember to double check when done that you have turned off the stove! Better yet, do what I do—use a slow cooker (crockpot)!
9. Make a list of what needs to be done. Put it on the refrigerator, front door, or bathroom mirror—anywhere convenient for you to look! Make duplicate lists so you can post them lots of places. Cross off when you accomplish something.
10. Don’t be afraid to label cabinets with post-it notes if you’ve re-arranged them or if your memory is beginning to slip. Label other closed areas if needed, as needed.
11. Have a calendar handy with appointments made. I know I have become even more visually oriented now. Also ask if the doctor’s office could give you a reminder call.
12. Get help—even if just part time—if you are having difficulty keeping up with household chores. Enlist help from family or friends; hire help, if necessary.
13. Keep a list of your current medications in your wallet.
These are just some of the things I’ve learned are important in my journey through dementia. Please feel free to share with me any you may have!