Whether you live alone, or with a spouse, carer or family, you want your home to continue to feel like your home, with all the things you’ve gathered over the years, and all the things you’re used to. You also want it to be a safe place to get around in.
If your home is set up the right way, you will find life easier and you will be safer. You may need to make a few changes.
An occupational therapist can look at your home together with you and suggest ways to make it easier for you to do the things you usually do. This might mean making sure that there is enough lighting, that there is enough room to move around your house safely, and that you can find the things you need.
Kevin wasn’t nicknamed Mr Gadget for nothing. He could turn his hand to anything – he mastered computers, fixed washing machines, put up shelves. He also had a day job; he was a professional man running his own practice. So being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 66 was a big shock for Kevin and his family.
Soon after this diagnosis, an occupational therapist came to the house to work out with Kevin and his wife how they could use his strengths to aid his memory. Mr Gadget had a labelling machine – so they used this to label all the cupboards and shelves to prompt him to put things away in the correct place, and to find them again. He labelled the microwave with step-by-step instructions on how to cook his oats for breakfast each morning, which meant he could continue to do this for himself.
Kevin likes routine and structure; so the occupational therapist worked with Kevin and his wife, Diane, to introduce a weekly timetable of arrangements and activities that Kevin enjoyed; it also gave Diane the time and space to continue her interests and pursuits as a mother, friend and grandmother. The weekly timetable includes a discussion group, a men’s lunch group, and going for walks, with friends and family members being included in regular weekly time slots. A big clock with the date as well as the time prompts Kevin to keep track of his timetable.
The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government funded initiative.