Managing Day to Day tasks for older people

Sometimes its just hard to keep track of the details.  As an older person, the details matter less so it doesn’t seem like a place to focus.  If you are starting to have some mild cognitive impairment, this can be an even bigger challenge.

1.Who needs help remembering the details?

As we age, the details seem less important.  Some of that is wisdom, some of that is biology.  Sometimes you bounce a check because you forget that you already sent one.

When our brains change as we are aging, remembering things can get harder.  Sometimes remembering things isn’t part of being an older person, its just about trying to keep track of our lives.

2.  What can help me manage the details when I have trouble remembering ?

Old timey technology like Post it Notes and White Boards.  New Technology like Devices, Apps, and Devices and Apps together.

God bless the Post it Note:  The un-celebrated tactical facilitator of people with dementia and their caregivers.

A post it note that says “FIREPLACE” on the fireplace makes sense for us.

A list of all things we do during the day, on a white board, sounds smart.  I still love my paper desk calendar, because i can see it, so a white board calendar is also an option.  Anything large, tactical and visible can be a huge help to our lives.

For all of these we ask, what do we need help remembering?

  • Is when to do something?  Like you know you feed the dog but you are never sure when do to it.
  • Is it what to do – like you wake up in the morning knowing you are supposed to do something but you cannot figure out what it is?
  • If you are more afraid of getting lost, go here.

3. Where are the apps and products that can help me remember?

Assuming you still like your phone or tablet, you can go ICloud, Google.  Start here.  Maybe Microsoft if you still use a PC and nothing else.

  • If you still like using your phone, use whatever tools are native to your platform.
  • This means you use Icloud if you have an Apple phone.
  • You use Google if it is an Android phone.
  • Now that we’ve got that oriented, use the calendar and task apps that are inherent in the phone, and schedule your life this way.  You will need to take inventory of what you need reminders on: medication, dog feeding, exercises, eating, groceries, day the cleaning lady comes etc.  Share your calendar with a loved one.   Smart in Five recommends enlisting a trusted friend or family member to set up your routine on your phone.  Following this set up, you can get reminders on your phone and see how well it works for you.

There is this app:  its Done.  This app is supposed to help you manage the details, but I didn’t find it that great.  I’ll leave it at that.

Mindmate.    If keeping your mind and body active is  hard to remember to do, Mindmate may be a tool to create some ritual and variety in content and exercises.  This app is a companion app with many different types of activities, including games, educational video, and physical exercises with video.

If the phone is a no-go, consider something like Watchminder interval watch.  This watch is designed to notify around intervals of time, so if you need a reminder at regularly scheduled intervals, this can amazing.  It was originally designed to enable behavior changes for people with ADD / ADHD.  Smart in Five does love this idea.   You can set 30 reminders, and they each have a message you can customize.  I would ask someone to help set this up, and being able to remind 30 events a day is very cool.

If want something totally different, Reminder Rosie is an interesting spin.  It looks like a vintage clock, but its got digital smarts that can record and deliver reminder messages at various times of day.  You can record 25 reminders for every day, weekly or any date.

4. When are these products available?

All of these products are available currently; May 2018.

5.  Why is technology useful for managing day to day life?

Day to day living can start to present new challenges; we can use technology to help.

When we need just a little help, using technology to manage day to day life means calendars, reminders, and alarms.  If you still like using your phone, then consider that it is part of a larger system and the more you play with it, the more it might be able to do for you.  This is where we recommend Microsoft, ICloud or Google tools because they are native to your phone and they have expansive platforms that support corporate environments so they can do everything you need.  A friend or family member could help set this up, and you can do a lot just with these and your phone.  I would ALWAYS start here.

If you need something simpler, then looking at apps that do ONE THING can help you solve that problem.  If you need a trigger to remind you to do stuff, then watchminder sounds like a good idea.  If you like to check the list, but just need a place to keep stuff, OneNote can be your friend.

When we need a lot more help, Smart in Five recommends that you automated as many other things as possible.  This is kind of reverse logic, but at some point managing reminders just may not make sense for you.  Instead getting every other detail of day to day life set up and automated (you may need help to set this up and that’s a-ok), can make your life simpler.  its sort of like getting all the other stuff out of the way.