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3.12 Strategies from others to deal with difficulties at home

Strategies used by people with dementia to overcome difficulties and keep safe at home

I sometimes leave the taps on

Suggested strategies

  • Install a motion activated tap  
  • Review other strategies for dementia-friendly interior design here.

I take a long time getting dressed

Suggested strategies

  • Make it easier to decide what to wear each dayFor example, buy multiples of clothes you like and wear similar clothes each day (e.g., jeans and t-shirt). Or match up seven ‘outfits’ and wear the same combinations each day of the week. 
  • Declutter your wardrobe. Throw out or donate clothes you rarely wear. Organize your clothes and shoes so that it’s easier to find things. 
  • Choose clothes that are easy to put on. Donate or get rid of clothes with complicated fastenings such as zippers at the back or lots of buttons.

I keep forgetting to turn off the stove or oven

Suggested strategies

  • Install a device that automatically turns off your stove or oven. There are relatively inexpensive safety switches that you can plug into your electric oven so that it turns off after a set time (e.g., 30 minutes)More sophisticated devices are motion activated and will turn off your stove or oven if you’re not standing in front itHowever, this option is more expensive and may require an electrician to install. (e.g., stove shut off device)
  • Cook when someone else is home, so the other person can check to make sure the stove or oven is turned off when you are done. 

I have trouble cooking certain dishes, or hosting family meals

Suggested strategies

  • Reorganize your kitchen to make it easier to find things. Use labels on storage containers and organize ingredients so they are easier to find. Declutter kitchen drawers and keep only the equipment you use regularly. 
  • Organize your recipes. Write out recipes you use often and put them in a folder for reference. 
  • Before you start cooking, gather all the ingredients and equipment you will need so that everything is in one place. Check off ingredients on the recipe as you add them, or steps in the recipe as you complete them. 
  • Choose simple recipes with fewer ingredients or steps. 
  • If you want to make important dishes for special celebrations, invite a family member or friend to make them with you. 
  • Buy some dishes pre-made or partially made, rather than cooking from scratch. 
  • Cook some dishes the day before a family meal, so you don’t have to prepare several dishes at once. 
  • For family gatherings, ask others to bring a dish, or ask them to come early to help with preparation. 

My family and friends worry about my safety and want to take over jobs around the house

Suggested strategies

  • Talk to your friends and family about potential safety risks at home. Put devices or strategies in place so that you can keep doing the jobs you want to. Emphasize how important it is for you to feel independent. 
  • Consider accepting help, but let others know that you want a say in how jobs are done. 

I worry about how I’ll manage if there is an emergency at home

Suggested strategies

  • Have phone numbers for emergency services, neighbours,  local friends, and family programmed into your phone. Consider leaving a written copy of this list by the phone. 
  • Install a video doorbell so that you can see who is there before answering the door. 
  • Install security cameras outside the home. You might ask a family member or friend to monitor these.  
  • If you are often home alone, get a personal alarm system. Most systems provide you with a pendant to be worn around your neck. In an emergency, such as a fall, you can press the button on the pendant to alert the company and family or friends that you need help. 
  • Reduce the hazards in your home such as runners and area rugs. 
  • Wear supportive shoes, not sandals or slippers that may slip. 
  • Avoid using bi-focal or multi-focal glasses when walking downstairs as it can make it hard to judge the distance of the stairs. 

I forget to lock the doors and windows when leaving the house or at night

Suggested strategies

  • Put a large note on the inside of the front door, reminding yourself to lock the doors and windows when you leave (as well as reminding you to take your keys, wallet, bag and glasses). 
  • Install self-locking door locks. These automatically lock from the outside, but not the inside in case of an emergency. 
  • Different window security measures are available depending on the design of your windows that allow them to be locked open but still secure. 
  • Put a large note next to your bed, reminding yourself to lock the doors and windows before going to sleep. 

I find it hard to fix things around my home

Suggested strategies

  • Ask a family member or friend to make repairs with or for you. 
  • Break tasks into smaller steps. Write out the steps and mark off each step as you complete it 
  • Consider hiring someone. Ask for referrals from friends and family. 
  • Find a community builders or carpentry group.  

often bump myself when walking through doorways or past furniture

Suggested strategies

  • Install brighter lighting to lighten up dark areas of your house such as hallways and storage areas. 
  • Add contrasting colours to the edges of doorways or stairs. 
  • Rearrange your furniture so that there is more space to walk. 
  • Try using a cane inside to give you extra information about where things are in your house. 

Learn from others

Write down and try some strategies mentioned on this page.