Focusing on Single-Minded Tasks For People With Memory Impairment Thursday, May 13, 2021 Single-minded tasks are a great way to assist your loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease as they tackle day-to-day activities. Though the tasks may take longer to complete, your loved one may respond positively to having a sense of control in familiar situations. Take some time to adapt the activities they previously enjoyed, alone or with others, to their individual level of capacity. Paying Attention You may have noticed your loved one now needs help with tasks that once were second nature to them. There is a lot that changes with Alzheimer’s or dementia, including memory loss, mood swings, social withdrawal, and more. It may be tempting to jump in and take over in the areas they are struggling with, but it is more important to maximize their independence, both for your relationship and for their self-esteem. Establish Routines The repetitive nature of a routine provides a predictability that can be especially satisfying for people experiencing memory or cognitive issues. Single-minded, familiar tasks are easier to complete, bringing a sense of accomplishment and helping them connect with who they were before experiencing the challenges of memory loss. Explore activities from your loved one’s past that they can accomplish on their own – washing dishes, organizing the mail, watering the plants – and establish a routine that allows them to have personal autonomy in those areas. When starting a new routine, utilize notes or lists to passively help your loved one remember what comes next. Avoid Multitasking Activities Did you know multitasking makes your brain work harder, regardless of memory difficulties? People with Alzheimer’s disease need more time to focus deeply on one thing without distraction before moving on to a second task. Asking them to complete two things at once can create confusion and agitation. For example, if you ask your loved one to put on their coat, grab an umbrella, and turn off the light, they may get stuck on one request and forget the rest. Instead, ask them to put on their coat, wait for them to complete it, and then move on to the next request. Though it may take longer to get out the door, each task they complete is an exercise for their mind and body, and allows them to operate independently with minimal assistance. Find a Supportive Environment Choosing the right environment for your loved one can make all the difference. Memory care facilities are specially designed with residents’ safety in mind, while also promoting an appropriate level of independence. With the assistance of medical staff, memory care and assisted living facilities can provide your family with peace of mind and your loved one with the support they need. Willow River is Here to Help If you are ready to speak to a professional, Willow River can help answer your questions and provide the resources you’re looking for. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.