1. Eat. Don’t skip meals. If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat much. Keep your refrigerator and pantry well stocked with the food you eat. Get rid of the spoiled, moldy, and stale stuff. Occasionally, invite your children over for a meal. Be a good hostess, use the good dishes, stay relaxed and within yourself.
2. Organize your finances and pay your bills. Your children will worry that you will be cheated. Budget. Give your charity money to your own church or a charity that you are familiar with. Suppress the urge to give money to anyone with a sad story, especially those on TV. Don’t give any money to people who phone you or come to your door unasked, and that includes repairmen. Ask your children for help with selecting repair people and organizing major financial operations.
3. Keep your home clean and uncluttered. One of the clearest signs of dementia is living in clutter: old newspapers, cans, bottles, mail, and other junk. Get rid of furniture and other household items you no longer need. A lot of it will still have good use left or sentimental value, and it is an act of charity to recycle this stuff. If it is too much for you to dust, vacuum, wash windows, mow the lawn and weed the flowerbeds, hire help to do it. If you can’t afford that, turn to your faith community or local Senior Assistance for help in finding free chore services.
4. Take care of your physical self. See your doctor and dentist regularly. Take your medications, brush your teeth, and exercise every day. Bathe often and wear clean clothes. If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, have a good treatment plan and stay with it. Go to a fall prevention class. Watch your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
5. Stay in the mainstream. Neighbors, friends, clubs, children, grandchildren, church groups and the like can not only fill your life with purpose, but can also support you when you need help, cheer you up when you are ill, and walk with you in daily living.
6. Use community services. The government and many private organizations provide services to assist you. For example, there is bus service that will come to your door at a specified time, take you where you want to go, and bring you home when you are finished. There are organizations that will bring prepared meals to your home. You can get help with your rent or utility bills if you cannot pay them. The good news is that you don’t have to hunt for these services. Just call your local Senior Services and tell them what you need.
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