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Got mom into AL but she's struggling with schedules and routines. I would like to get some organizational tools to help with this. Have any of you found ways to help your loved one stay organized? Day planners, wall systems etc? Hate to reinvent the wheel if I don't have to. Thanks

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Back when we moved Auntie to AL I hung Notes everywhere!! Bathroom , closet and what was in it ,on the door I made a list of meal times ,bible stories ,hair dresses appointment, ect....when we took her home we put signs and arrows and name tags On EVERYTHING! my nephew got a big kick out of it he said hey did you get lost on the way to the bathroom lol Haha Big joke of the week!! It worked !!
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I put up a white board in mom's AL room. She writes down special events and then erases the old ones. She has a large wall clock with Day of the week, Month, and Time. The facility issues new event calendars every month. She circles the events that interest her (like bingo and movie night). She also writes her daily weight and bowel function. She has the attention span of approx 10 minutes, but rarely misses an event that was written on the white board or on her community calendar.
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We have chalk board squares on wall. I write what is going on each day and what time we need to leave. Then erase for next day. It is a visual reminder.
DL
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I made a white board for my late mother with important info. You may try this.
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My mom uses a month at a glance calendar book (the exterminator company gives her a new one every year). We put everything in there. She does her blood pressure and sugar test each morning and puts in the book, too. Keeps her from fretting over dr appt dates, what day lady will clean house, etc.
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I know a home mefical alert agency was developing a pill box with sensors. It would ding to remind a person to take their pills. Only appropriate box would open. If not opened within 20-30 minutes, they call to remind petson to take their meds.

I know programer who was testing and modifying the prototype...that was about 5 years ago. So it should be available now.
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Lots of devices...Alexa, etc can give spoken reminders. You can set up reminders and alarms.

For coordinating information, visits, helpers, rides to appointments I suggest CaringBridge.org! It has several layers of access. Great for letting people sign up to visit, help out with shopping, give rides...
They can sign in as back up driver if first person can't come last minute. Deals with issue of too many visitors at once overwhelming LO, then long periods of isolation.
You can post diary and pictures and video. Again whomever sets up the site controls who has access to what levels of information. It has been a blessing for several family members. Runs on free will donations.
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We use a white board, week to week. We found that she gets too confused if we try and schedule out beyond that timeframe.
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After much trial and error, I finally settled on a big desk calendar which I have tilted upwards on the floor against the A/C unit in mom's room (had been sitting tilted upward in a chair) where she can see it.  It shows the date and what I have posted on each day where there is something going on that she needs to remember.  I use different colors of crayon to write events in the big squares.  She says it helps her.
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The most helpful tool we got dad was an atomic clock. It is on his kitchen counter with a calendar and his weekly pill box. The atomic clock has the day of the week, the month, and date, as well as the time. He crosses off the days on his calendar, and it helps him to know which pill day to take.
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My MIL with dementia has two calendars, a clock, a watch and a whiteboard. Problem is: she can't process the fact she needs to look at them. We now accept the fact we can't change this and let the professionals remind her "time for lunch, bath, bingo, etc." I gently say don't fret over this because it's not likely to improve. Save your time, energy and emotion for other areas that may occur: UTI's, meds, etc. Warm fuzzies to you.
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My BIL didn't have dementia, but he used a big "white board" and markers that can be wiped off.

He put everything on that white board and it was in the hallway so he passed it all the time.

I'm not sure, but I think he had it set up like a calendar and he could even X off the days as they passed. Simple system and it worked very well for him.
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We have dementia clocks placed in mom’s bedroom and the kitchen to help her know not only the time and day but whether it was morning or nighttime - because AM and PM no longer helped her know time of day. We also have 2 whiteboards and list information like appointments or events. Both these help her tremendously. Got all on Amazon fyi.
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I pressed send too early. We found a place that accepted Medicaid after several months of private pay. Many of them wanted private pay for at least a year or two.

Memory care costs $10,000 a month.

The Council on Aging social workers and the gerontologist that we found really helped us find a place where we could place my mother that is close to us and that has caring staff. I think from what you say, your mom will be needing that kind of care soon.
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So many issues here. but I'd like to focus on one, which is to make sure that you are preparing for the next level of care. Does your mother have limited assets? If so I would highly recommend that you determine whether the assisted living facility that she is in except Medicaid. If not, then you should look into finding a place that accepts Medicaid. Now. Memory care is very expensive, and a lot of facilities are beginning to refuse to take Medicaid for such care.
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My LO has always worn a watch, and she continues to rely on a watch, but within a very limited actual sense of awareness.

The caregivers at her AL post signs in her room stating days of the week and clock times for weekly events that are most important to her (Mass times and hairdresser) but she doesn’t associate them too closely with her watch time.

Still, she says once in a while that she couldn’t live without her wrist watch, and I honor that.
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If your mom is in AL, the staff will guide her. Usually they use a herd mentality, look for all residents at meals, and remind them that a program is about to start.
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lisajean Jul 2019
Oh they will do anything for a price! Trying to avoid bumping up her care level but its inevitable I'm sure.
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A dementia clock is wonderful. It shows the month, day, and time of day and even has an alarm for taking meds, etc, up to 8 times a day. These alarms can be used for meds, appointments, etc. Calendars become so very difficult and confusing. Alarms may be confusing, but they can be turned off and then look for other options. We made a little schedule for meds, that matched the time on the clock, example, morning, afternoon, evening, then my mother would check the time of day she took her pills. We numbered the pill bottle tops with the same number on the bottle, and wrote the numbers in red so that the bottles and the tops matched the number on the schedule so all important information for her was just a number. This helped for quite a long time so she took her pills at the correct time of the day and made her more independent. Again a dementia clock is great.
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Thanks all. First of all I live 500 miles away so will be leaving to go back home soon. Neuropsychological testing this coming week so should have formal dx soon. For now I want to try keeping her independent as much as possible. Daily reminders such as feeding the dog and watering her plant etc. I got her a dementia clock and she is using it. She still understands the concept of time. Printed up her phone contacts to put next to her phone. She still remembers to IM me through Facebook. Its really hard to know what she's capable at this point so I at least want to try. I cant imagine giving up before I've even started. Had to placed her in AL due to extreme danger in the home with an older addict sibling as well as her MCI and recent hip replacement so she's been through a lot of trauma lately. AL is accompanying for meals but she's resistant. I think the AL is still assessing her needs and trying to keep her independent in the mean time. We will reassess at the end of the month.
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A very large clock next to a very good size wall board may help, but if she is quite far advanced then she will soon enough need memory care. As to finding out how advanced she is you can ask her to draw you a clock. If she is able to do that ask her to draw it showing 10:00 or any other time. If she cannot do these tasks then a clock and wall board are unlikely to help. Are the staff expressing that these things are becoming problematic now?
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JoAnn29 Jul 2019
My Mom could not read a regular clock. My daughter got her a digital with 2 in numbers and even then, it was iffy.
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What ur asking is really impossible when it comes to Dementia. At Moms, the aides and activity director were responsible for reminding Mom "it was time". But Mom was in a 39 bed AL. She needed help with dressing. So the aide got her up, washed and dressed and out to the common area for breakfast. The aide is responsible for getting them out for meals. The activity director knocked on doors and let residents know it was time for whatever activity she had going.

I always felt the calendars were more for family to show them what was going on so they could be there if they wanted.
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Judysai422 Jul 2019
Wow, where my parents live in AL, the service is not nearly that good. Activity director showed up once, and only after I spoke to head of the place multiple times. But then, their place has 99 residents,
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I’m not sure how far along in this journey your mom is, but when my husband was in earlier stages, I would write him a note every day with his schedule and he would check off as he did something. This tracking may be beyond your mom at this point.
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Judysai422 Jul 2019
I made up the same thing for my mom and hung it on her Walker. We did it on the computer so it was easy to update. However, my dad took it over and then failed to keep it up. I think after a while she became immune to it.
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Good comments below. But introducing new things or methods won't be adopted. Are you trying to help her keep on top of her meds? I would pay the extra and have the facility do this, if the meds are important. Other than that, you calling to remind her might be the best, but there's no guarantee that she'll do it after you hang up. That was my experience with my MIL.
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The key to managing memory issues and dementia is to simplify everything......to shrink her world rather than expand it with schedules or day planners. What makes sense to us is totally senseless to them. The dry erase white board is something to try, like screennamed said, but your mom would have to remember to look at it. When mom was in the ALF, they'd hand out the monthly calendar which listed all the activities and events in one easy to read place. Mom insisted on putting it in the drawer and then she'd forget where it was, so she had no idea what was going on. Every time I would go over, I would pull the calendar out of the drawer and put it out in plain sight. She would then put it back in the drawer the minute I left the room. Since they lose the concept of time, it becomes nearly impossible to keep them on a schedule or in a routine. Mom has 2 clocks in her place but never has a clue about what time it is, or, if its 6 pm, what that time may mean with respect to an event. THIS is what makes things very difficult.....or ONE of the things, anyway. The best thing the ALF can do is come get your mom for meals or to let her know of an activity or PT session, etc. If the dementia progresses beyond the scope of what the ALF can manage, you may need to look into memory care. My mom lived in the ALF sector for 4 years and then had to go to the memory care sector after a recent hospitalization and step down in dementia.

Best of luck.....its a tough road, that's for sure
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Whiteboard similar to the methodology utilized by hospitals and nursing homes. Which is hung on a wall with a daily schedule. Struggling with schedules, equates to struggling with AL facility mealtimes. Which means she's needing more help, than AL can provide? Whatever she is accustomed to doing, would work best. Align it to the protocols utilized by the long-term or memory care facility that is her next destination.

Are there more specifics? What is she forgetting?
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