7 Daily Tasks Affected by Alzheimer's Disease

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Cindy Kuzma on August 22, 2021
  • Grandmother and Granddaughter
    How to Adapt Daily Routines With Alzheimer’s Disease
    Taking a shower. Getting dressed. Driving to the grocery store. Most people go through these motions practically on autopilot. But for those with Alzheimer’s disease, these everyday tasks grow increasingly difficult. These seven regular tasks eventually become more challenging with dementia, and ways caregivers and family can adapt daily routines to meet patients’ needs.
  • Senior Woman and granddaughter preparing salad
    1. Cooking
    Being useful in the kitchen can bring many people with Alzheimer’s disease great joy. But physical challenges and memory loss can make some tasks difficult or dangerous. Instead, involve the person by asking for input on what to prepare and requesting a helping hand with measuring, mixing and pouring. Then let him or her serve as the official recipe taster.
  • Handicap Bathroom
    2. Bathing
    This intimate task ranks as one of a caregiver’s most difficult. Follow the person’s existing habits, be they showering in the morning or taking a bath before bed. Use a rubber nonslip mat, safety bars, and unbreakable plastic containers for soap and shampoo. Check the water temperature carefully. Allow your loved one to do as much as possible—but never leave a confused or frail person alone in the bathroom. 
  • Medicine Pill Box Daily Planner
    3. Managing Medication
    Often people with Alzheimer’s disease have multiple prescriptions to treat the condition itself and other health problems. Talk with the doctor about what each medication is for and how exactly to take it. Make a medication list you can take to every doctor’s appointment. Use a pillbox to keep all medications in one place and track which to take when. Use a timer or set appointments on a smartphone or other device for time-sensitive medicines.
  • Senior Woman Driving
    4. Driving
    At first, people with minor memory loss may still be able to drive, especially for short distances and during the day. But eventually, Alzheimer’s disease will slow a person’s reaction time, making it dangerous for him or her to get behind the wheel. Consider other options for transit, such as rides from friends or family members. Or contact your local aging agency to ask about special services, including buses, taxis and carpools.
  • Nurse assisting senior woman to brush teeth
    5. Oral Hygiene
    Proper brushing is important in preventing cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. You may have to do some re-education, going step-by-step to remind the person how to brush. It might help to brush your teeth at the same time, too. In the later stages of the disease, you may have to take control of dental care. A long-handed, angled, or electric toothbrush can make the job easier. 
  • Senior Woman Combing her hair at dresser
    6. Grooming
    Looking good tends to lead to feeling good—and grooming rituals can serve as a soothing part of a regular daily routine. Encourage women to wear powder and lipstick if they always have. Help men shave with electric razors. Schedule regular visits to the salon or barber, or search for professionals who will come to your home.
  • Woman tying her Husbands Tie
    7. Dressing
    The task of selecting the proper clothing proves challenging for many people with Alzheimer’s disease. They may fret over the best option and end up in mismatched outfits wrong for the season or missing a key component. Help by keeping only one or two appropriate combinations in the closet or dresser. Lay out each day’s clothes in the order they go on, or hand the person one item at a time.
7 Daily Tasks Affected by Alzheimer's Disease

About The Author

  1. Activities at home. Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_activities.pdf  
  2. Alzheimer's caregiving: bathing, dressing, grooming. NIH Senior Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimerscare/personalcare/01.html  
  3. Alzheimer's caregiving: managing medications. NIH Senior Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimerscare/medications/01.html  
  4. Alzheimer's caregiving: what to do every day. NIH Senior Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimerscare/dailyactivities/01.html 
  5. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: daily activities. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/Alzheimers_Caregiving_Tips_Daily_Activities.pdf  
  6. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: driving safely. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/Alzheimers_Caregiving_Tips_Driving_Safety.pdf  
  7. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: going out. National Institute on Aging. http://www.bu.edu/alzresearch/files/2010/03/alzheimers_caregiving_tips_going_out.pdf    
  8. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: grooming and dressing. National Institute on Aging. http://www.bu.edu/alzresearch/files/2010/03/Grooming.pdf  
  9. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: healthy eating. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/Alzheimers_Caregiving_Tips_Healthy_Eating.pdf 
  10. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: managing medicines. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/Alzheimers_Caregiving_Tips_Managing_Medicines.pdf  
  11. Alzheimer’s caregiving tips: travelling overnight. National Institute on Aging. http://www.bu.edu/alzresearch/files/2010/03/alzheimers_caregiving_tips_traveling_overnight_1.pdf    
  12. Creating a daily plan. Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alz.org/care/dementia-creating-a-plan.asp  
  13. G. Sacco et al. Detection of activities of daily living impairment in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment using information and communication technology. Clin Interv in Aging. 2012;7:539–549.
  14. Tips for daily life. Alzheimer’s Association. http://www.alz.org/i-have-alz/tips-for-daily-life.asp
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Aug 22
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.