Living well - Quality of life - Tips and strategies for daily living

This section offers tips and strategies for living daily with dementia. Because we are all individual and unique, not all of these suggestions will work for you. Focus on what works for you and fits your life. It is important to remember there is a way to make everything work.

Source: Compiled with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP). (2008). Tips and Strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.

Frequently asked questions

What can I do to make my everyday living easier now that I have dementia? Click for answer

Below is a list of suggestions to help make day to day living easier.

  • Take your time and don't let other people rush you
  • If you find a task challenging or frustrating, step away, take a break and come back later
  • If you are having trouble with a task, do not be afraid to ask for help
  • Explain to people that you have a memory problem and you may need help
  • Take a friend or family member with you when you go out of the house
  • Focus on completing a reasonable number of tasks each day. Try not to overwhelm yourself by trying to accomplish too many things on your to-do list.
  • Remember there is no right or wrong way to do things. Finding your own best way to accomplish daily tasks is what is important. Make sure to laugh. Keeping a sense of humour can help you stay relaxed.
  • Try to think positive thoughts. You might not be able to do everything the same way you used to, but you can find new ways of doing things.
  • If there is something you are interested in trying - go for it! There is no harm in trying.
  • Make sure to take good care of yourself and make healthy food choices
  • After getting the diagnosis, give yourself some time to settle down
  • Try to keep life simple. Minimize stress by giving yourself extra time, slowing down and learning to rest when you feel tired.
  • Always try to plan ahead. Develop routines and review your daily calendar every morning.
  • Do not be ashamed. Talk openly about your disease and communicate your needs to your family and friends.
  • Stay engaged by volunteering or attending a support group
  • Look for transportation resources in your community. Many organizations offer volunteer services that can take you to appointments or to run errands.
  • Begin writing down or tape recording things that are important to you. This can be a good way to let other people know what you find meaningful.
  • Use electronic aids, like recording devices, alarm clocks and calendars to help you remember significant dates and appointments
  • When entertaining keep the gathering simple and small, and remember to get lots of rest beforehand so you are not tired
  • Use visual cues, like post-it notes and calendars as reminders to do things. Place medication in a visible place and leave a pad and pen near the phone to write down phone messages. Try using a camera to document things you want to remember.
  • Use a credit card instead of carrying large amounts of cash. You can also set up your finances for direct deposit and automatic withdrawals. It is a good idea to have a trusted person to help you with managing your finances. For more information, review the Planning ahead section of this website.
  • Try to only carry the keys you need, in case you are to misplace them
  • Place your phone number on a no-call list to decrease the number of unwanted calls from telemarketers
  • Be conscious of strangers coming to your door, like sales people or those looking for donations. You can put a 'no-soliciting' sign on your door to decrease the likelihood of this happening.
  • When you go out, carry a piece of identification with you along with an emergency contact number


Compiled with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP). (2008). Tips and Strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.

List adapted with permission from Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2003). Just for You. Toronto, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Canada.

List adapted with permission from Alzheimer Scotland. (n.d.). Don't make the Journey Alone: A message from fellow travellers. Edinburgh, Scotland: Alzheimer Scotland.

What can I do to help with my memory on a day-to-day basis? Click for answer

Below is a list of strategies to help with the effects of memory loss on a day-to-day basis.

  • Write down appointments in diaries, calendars, bulletin boards and post it notes
  • Make a list of things you need to do and tick them off when you have done them
  • Make special places to put important items (with a reminder of your special place)
  • Pre-set your phone with important contact numbers already keyed in
  • Pre-set your phone with contact numbers in case you have difficulty when you are out
  • Try playing computer or video games
  • Keep learning. Try a new language or learn how to use a computer.
  • Do not be afraid to meet new people and try new things
  • Be creative. Write in a journal or try painting.
  • Try memorizing magazine articles or passages in books to test your recall. You can also try memorizing your daily routine without having to look at a list.

Source: Compiled with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP). (2008). Tips and Strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.