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Are there tips for dealing with dementia and anxiety over being on time?

Early stage dementia. Lives in a Sunrise community. female 94 yrs Can't remember when to be ready for visitors or appointments. Calls several times an hour asking over again. What tips to help with these behaviors?
Status: Open    Jan 05, 2015 - 08:52 AM

Caregiving, Dementia

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2 answers


Feb 23, 2015 - 09:25 AM

Do some research on Spaced Retrieval. Basically the idea behind spaced retrieval is to build on the brain's capability to still learn something through repitition. First ensure that she is still capable of reading. Then after determining what size font is best for easy reading, write the answer to her question (eg. Your doctor's appointment is at 11 this morning) and learn to respond in EXACTLY the same way each time she calls. (Eg. look at your paper beside the phone. What does it say?). Eventually, she will learn to look automatically without making that call. Google this topic and you will find many descriptions of how to proceed with this to ensure success. This is just one site:

Aug 22, 2015 - 10:26 PM

Have you talked to the community directly? Sometimes they can help cue her for such appointments. They can usually build it into their care plan, etc. Is she in their regular assisted living? Sometimes communities have a middle between regular assisted living and the dementia community where they provide this type of care, a little more reminders and help to accomplish daily tasks. Talking to the community is a good start.

As for the 'behaviors' what you are describing is very typical of dementia. Printing her out a calendar near her clock might be helpful but that may lead to more of 'what day is it'? 'what time is it?' Etc. Re-direction is key. If you know it is her calling and it's near an appointment or visiting time, etc maybe don't answer the phone so as not to frustrate yourself. Another thing I have had help families, if she can remember this part, is a family members calls everyday at the same time (mid-morning is often a good time of day) to 'visit', go over the days events, etc. Then encourage her to get out to an activity in the community, this will provide a distraction as well as mental stimulation.

This blog post here: has some great insight on how to cope (as a caregiver) and work alongside someone with dementia.

Asking for help and guidance is a great first step!
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