Forget-Me-Not: Tips and Tricks to Living with Forgetfulness

Tiffany Rubin

Chief of Happiness

Nurse Next Door Delaware

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Does a friend, loved one or someone you know have difficulty remembering things? We all do at some point, but with certain age-related diseases, forgetfulness may become a part of daily life. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help with forgetfulness and help maintain independence as long as possible. (Remember, the primary factor when considering how long to remain independent is SAFETY.)

Manage medication – Medication non-compliance is a common occurrence and very often the reason people go to the hospital, are readmitted, or have complications. A few ideas:

Pill Planners – Better than a pill bottle, pill planners allow your loved one to see what they must take and when they must take it. Pill planners should be filled before the beginning of each week by a licensed professional agency, family member or friend.

Pill Packing – Get medications pill packed. Pill packing is useful when medications are taken on a regular and consistent basis. Pills are packaged according to day and time with this information printed on each package. Check with your local pharmacy to see if this service is available or consider using a company like PillPack.

Medication Alarm Clock – Get a ring, a ding, or a buzz from a medication alarm clock reminding you or your loved one that it’s time for meds. You’ll find a large selection of medication alarm clocks on-line using a Google search or browsing on Amazon. From simple to sophisticated, there are many designs and functions from which to choose.

Medication Reminder Apps – Cell phones and/or tablets can become alarm clocks with a medication reminder app. Search Google Play or iTunes for many options.

Alarm.com Wellness – Among the many services that Alarm.com offers, subscribers can program auto-phone calls to serve as medication reminders.

Phone Calls – An oldie but goodie, a friendly phone call from you or a neighbor can also get the job done.

Turn off the gas/electric to the stove – If your loved one still loves to cook, have a volunteer or friend come over regularly to be present when they do so. While this may seem like it inhibits independence, it allows your loved one to stay independent at home LONGER because they’ll be safer.

Have daily checklists to remind a loved one what needs to be done! Completing a daily checklist also nurtures one’s desire to be productive, giving our loved ones a sense of purpose at the beginning of each day and a sense of accomplishment at the end. No task is too small for the list! A few ideas:

  • Water plants
  • Make bed
  • Eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • Do stretches and/or exercises
  • Make a grocery list
  • Organize a drawer

Always have a plan for doctor appointments – Missed doctor appointments are another contributing factor in the decline of many people. Troubleshoot this right away by creating a transportation plan well in advance of the appointments. Print the plan in an easy-to-read format and post it where your loved one can quickly reference it.

Locate important documents – Now is the time to get copies of them (i.e., wills, power of attorneys, healthcare directives, etc.)! Don’t risk important documents being lost or forgotten by your loved one. Make copies and/or put originals in a safe deposit box for safekeeping.

Forgetfulness or confusion isn’t always just absentmindedness; knowing the difference can be tough. It’s difficult to transition from “come on, you know the answer” to “I’ll take care of it for you”, but it’s an important transition that makes your loved one more comfortable and safe and leaves you less frustrated.

Our nurses make it possible for your parents to keep living in their own home and continue all of their favorite activities. To learn more about how Nurse Next Door can help, call 1-877-588-8609.

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