Organized, clean residences reduce confusion
in Alzheimer's patients

An uncluttered and organized home can keep a person with Alzheimer’s disease from feeling overwhelmed, and also help him or her function more independently.

“Too many choices and obstacles can overwhelm people with cognitive impairment,” says Kristin Martin-Cook, clinical research coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at
UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“For example, if there are fewer clothes to choose from, getting dressed is simpler and less stressful,” she says.

Mrs. Martin-Cook’s recommendations include:

  • Clear out the closets of all but a few favorite, comfortable outfits. Each evening, lay out an outfit for the next day.
  • Move or dispose of furniture to create clear pathways.
  • Keep in the open photos and sentimental knick-knacks that can stimulate memories.
  • Label drawers and doors with pictures if the person has trouble finding items. Decorative craft-store scrapbook stickers work well for this function.
  • Use lights to eliminate frightening dark corners and to illuminate key areas, such as the bathroom.
  • Put bright cushions or blankets on furniture to make them easier to see.
  • Cover or remove mirrors so the person isn’t startled by the “stranger.”
  • Organize and structure the environment early in the progression of Alzheimer’s, rather than waiting until a person is having problems coping.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/neurosciences to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for neurovascular and neuromuscular disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Media Contact: Aline McKenzie

Return to
September 2009 News Tips

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