Have you recently been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment?

Do you worry about how to manage if you live alone?

by National Institute on Aging

Have you, or has someone you love, recently been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, or a frontotemporal disorder? Do you worry about how to manage if you live alone? If so, these tips offer ways to help cope with changes in memory and thinking, prepare for the future, and stay active and engaged.

Many people with early-stage dementia continue to manage their everyday activities. But it’s important to look ahead to a time when performing daily tasks will be harder. The sooner you adopt new strategies to help you cope with changes, the more time you will have to adjust to them. Here are some tips:

Organizing your days. Write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar. You can also keep track of activities with computer software or a smartphone app. Some people have an area in their home, such as an entryway table or bench, where they store important items or organize the things they need each day. You may also want to consider using a digital clock that displays the day of the week and date, in addition to the time.

Paying bills. Setting up automated payments is an easy way to pay your bills correctly and on time without having to write checks. Many companies and banks offer this service at no extra charge. You can set up automatic payments with your utility providers, insurance companies, bank, and mortgage company or leasing office. Also consider asking someone you trust to help you pay bills. That person could review your financial statements and ask you about anything unusual,

Shopping for meals. Many stores offer grocery delivery services, usually for a small fee. You can also order fresh or frozen meals online or by phone. Meals on Wheels America (888-998-6325) can deliver free or low-cost meals to your home, too, and this service sometimes includes a short visit and safety check. Other possible sources of meals include religious communities and senior centers. If you make your own meals at home, consider easy-to-prepare items, such as foods that you can heat in the microwave.

Taking medications. Several products can help you manage medications. You can try a weekly pillbox, a pillbox that gives you a notification (such as an alarm or vibration) when it’s time to take medicine, or an automatic medication dispenser. You can buy these items at a drugstore or online, but you may need someone to help you set these up. Or try an electronic reminder system, such as a smartphone app or an alarm you set on your phone or computer.

Using transportation. If you drive, you may find that you become confused, get lost, or need help with directions more often than before. Talk with your doctor about these changes. If family or friends express concerns about your driving, take their concerns seriously. Some people decide to give up driving and learn how to use public transportation or ride sharing. Neighbors, volunteers, or ride services for older adults may also be able to help with transportation.

Contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. This nationwide service from the Administration on Aging connects older Americans and their caregivers with local support resources.

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