Dementia is affecting everyday life and can make many regular tasks seem increasingly problematic. Suddenly simple tasks like getting dressed, having a bath or making a cup of coffee gradually become problematic. For example, it’s no longer obvious what to put on first when getting dressed, how to use a zipper or how to operate the microwave. It can be frustrating and embarrassing for the person not managing these tasks. For this reason, many people with dementia try to hide their problems.Apraxia is the term used to describe these kinds of problems. Even though the desire to do the task exists, the brain cannot seem to organize the motion needed to carry out the activity.
Typical difficulties can be:• Difficulty remembering the order in which to do things (putting on shoes before socks)• Forgetting what they have done and therefore doing it again (like putting milk in coffee, locking and relocking the door, watering flowers)• Forgetting to do something (switch off water tap after use, open or respond to letters or have a bath)• Forgetting how to do things (how to put on a shirt, operate a microwave)• Not recognising what objects are for (that a toothbrush is for brushing teeth)• Not making connections (hearing the doorbell but not answering the door)
It is necessary to help the person with dementia to cope with such difficulties.
Try to plan ahead
Don’t draw attention to difficulties in front of other people
Don’t rush the person with dementia
Encourage the person to do as much as possible themselves
Find clothes, footwear that are easy to put on