General Strategies

You may find it more helpful to use the following general strategies to help your loved one deal with cognitive difficulties, rather than trying to “diagnose” which cognitive ability has been affected.

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  • Discuss test results with the neuropsychologist to determine problems your loved one will most likely face. Learn to recognize the signs.
  • Establish in advance the conditions for a loved one to seek assistance and permission for you to provide it. This can be very effective in avoiding frustration (e.g., helping with word finding during a social conversation). Become an ally.
  • Use a variety of memory aids, including notebooks, memos, sticky notes, and calendar of events, as well as procedures for completing tasks.
  • Use and update a personal organizer device for planning, completing and remembering tasks.
  • Encourage your loved one to write down new information.
  • Create maps for location of household items or familiar routes.
  • Practise familiar routines.
  • Maximize attention when giving instructions by asking if you have the person’s attention, removing distractions from the environment, and picking a quiet time to give instructions.
  • Minimize distractions in the environment when engaged in tasks requiring new learning.
  • Maintain similar routines.
  • Simplify the language of instructions. Ask if instructions are understood, and allow time for the person to process or think about instructions. Do not overload the person with complex instructions.
  • Pick high energy, well-rested periods for getting tasks completed, or engaging in problem solving or new learning.
  • Engage in discrete tasks.
  • Provide frequent rest breaks when tasks are complex or time consuming.
  • Help the individual get started by assisting with or being a partner in the task.
  • Repeat tasks to support new learning.
  • Engage in problem solving games (e.g., who-done-it games.)
  • Write down tasks with step-by-step directions, and post them in an appropriate place for use.
  • Present information or tasks in different modes for maximum perception (e.g., reading, listening, pictures.)
  • Establish day-to-day routines (e.g., completing tasks, routes to get places.)
Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 10:28 AM