During the summer of 2015 the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and Lynsey Robertson-Flannigan the Alzheimer Scotland Occupational Therapy intern formed a ‘Top Tips’ subgroup. The aim of this group was to co-produce a peer to peer resource of tips and strategies for people living with dementia.
The SDWG members have over the years collected strategies and tips which they have found useful in helping them to live well and independently with dementia. Their desire was to share this knowledge, enabling others to maximise their quality of life by being ‘all they can be’ (Dementia Skilled Improving Practice 2016).
The outcome of the group was to develop a resource of all their ideas. After a few brain storming sessions, a booklet of “Top Tips” was developed and the tips were themed into these areas:
At Home: Kitchen – Moving about your home safely
Out and About: Using buses, trains and taxis – Car parks – Keys – Staying safe and asking for help
Medication: Taking medication – Being away from home
In this week’s blog we are delighted to share with you a preview of the “At Home” section.
Kitchen our top tips to living independently
- A note on the cooker could prevent you from becoming distracted while cooking, for example: “Do not answer the door or phone when you are cooking.”
- Blackboard stickers or signs on kitchen cabinets can be a reminder of what is inside.
- A timer can remind you that food needs to be checked or that it is ready to eat. A portable timer can be carried to different rooms of the house.
- Using blackboard stickers or signs on kitchen cabinets can be a reminder of what is inside.
- Timers can be used to remind you to turn off appliances, such as the oven or iron. This can prevent fire hazards.
- Having transparent kitchen appliances could make it easy to see when the kettle is boiling or if the toast is ready.
Reminders for information, dates and appointments can be used around the home in a variety of ways:
- Laminated reminders
- Notice boards
- Magnetic boards
- Recorded messages
- Labels on drawers can be a reminder of what is inside.
- Post-it notes
- Having a checklist at the front door. For example:
Have you turned the gas off?
Have you turned off electrical appliances?
Do you have your car keys / purse / wallet?
Is the back door locked?
Are the windows shut?
Remember to lock front door?
- Calendars with large boxes to record appointments or diaries which have clearly separated days.
Printed reminders should be interesting to look at so that they catch your attention. Using coloured card or photographs can help.
Moving Around Your Home Safely
- Some local authorities can provide useful services to promote safety in the home. These can include a wide range of community alarms or alarms which make a sound when you leave your house.
- Trip hazards can be reduced by painting the last step in a contrasting colour. This can make it clearer where the stairs end.
Being involved in the development of ‘Our Top Tips to Living Well with Dementia’ has been a real pleasure. We have almost completed the booklet and hope to have it available in the next three to four months. We hope that the tips included within this leaflet will be of use to people with dementia now and for many years to come.
The Scottish Dementia Working Group are aware that these are the strategies that they have found to be of benefit although they may not work for everyone.
It would be great to hear from you on other effective “top tips” you use already? or have you seen any of these ‘Top Tips’ used and were they of benefit? and would you include any further sections?
We need to say a thank you to all the members of the SDWG for their ideas and suggestions as well as to Lynsey Robertson-Flannigan, Susan Burn, Fiona Gordon and Rachael McMurchy for their support and advice.
Footnote: I’m beginning to think that my cyber friend Kate Swaffer is telepathic as she has posted the above on Linkedin and it is the very framework I need to help move out of self-imposed Special Measures. That’s another hug I owe you Kate!