Let’s be real. Dementia has no cure YET.
So we fight fight to control the Big D with drugs not demonstrated to even control symptoms in the far-stretching hope that they may actually help control depression or eliminate obsessive-compulsive tendencies which are part of brain disease or even (keeping our fingers crossed) maybe maybe maybe help with memory or attention issues.
Those pills are probably costing someone (you, your insurer, a public assistance program) $50 or more per day. I swallow more than 20 every day. I have no idea if they work as I have no baseline against which to compare.
So here I turn to some methods which have been shown to help people learn better, remember better, think smarter, and help guide you through the routines of life creatively.
Here is a tool kit of items that may help you remember doctor appointments, plan days out, save the energy of your family by doing more things independently, and help make you days more productive and enjoyable.
Not guaranteed to work. But if it does, your quality of life could be a lot better because you remember better or make better judgments or can maintain your own grocery list or you can follow “recipes” for getting through the day. This tool the mind map will potentially help you think better and use parts of your brain that may not be damaged; I believe it has for me. That big tube, the Echo (named “Alexa”) will put appointments on your calendar or groceries on your list or play you music from your childhood to make you feel calm and think better (just say, “Alexa play Elvis Presley” or “Alexa play Fleetwood Mac”) just by verbally giving instructions in a natural way in your own way of speaking.
The diagram that follows these words is a mind map. Even if you have never read one before, or even seen one before, it should be easy and intuitive.
Use this toolbox at your own risk (you could get paper cuts from the file cards or get so engrossed in making pretty mind maps that you forget to go eat dinner). A side effect may be that you walk around saying “Alexa, what time is it?” or “Alexa make a note to call the doctor tomorrow at 1 pm” and a helpful bystander or law enforcement officer may then come talk to you to see if you are delusional or inebriated.
Some day the health care system will wake up and figure out that it is cost-effective to provide you with all of the items in the tool kit as reimbursable expenses.
Until then, it will cost you about $1.50 per day to use the toolkit if you already have a PC or Mac, or about $4.50 a day if you need to purchase a new one.
Most drinks at Starbuck’s cost around $4.50. A pack of cigarettes costs much more. A fee for missing a doctor appointment could be between $15 and $50. Neglecting to take an umbrella with you to the doctors on a sunny morning may be a costly mistake if Alexa knew it would be raining cats and dogs 90 minutes after you left and you then end up with a respiratory infection and have to go to an emergency room (for which someone will pay $2500).
These tools work very well for me. It may be worth it for you or your caregiver or your doctor to investigate whether these could work well for you.
Remember to keep a box of band-aids around (preferably with a superhero on them to denote your new status) to deal with those paper cuts from the file cards.
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