Uncluttered home helps Alzheimer's patient

Sept. 9, 2009 at 12:58 AM

DALLAS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- An uncluttered and organized home can keep people with Alzheimer's disease from feeling overwhelmed and help them function better, a U.S. expert suggests.

Kristin Martin-Cook, clinical research coordinator at the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says too many choices and obstacles can overwhelm people with cognitive impairment.

"For example, if there are fewer clothes to choose from, getting dressed is simpler and less stressful," Martin-Cook says in a statement.

Martin-Cook also recommends to:

-- Clear out closets of all but a few favorite, comfortable outfits. Each evening, lay out an outfit for the next day.

-- Move or dispose of furniture to create clear pathways.

-- Keep in the open photos and sentimental knick-knacks that can stimulate memories.

-- Label drawers and doors with pictures if the person has trouble finding items.

-- Use lights to eliminate frightening dark corners and to illuminate key areas, such as the bathroom.

-- Put bright cushions or blankets on furniture to make them easier to see.

-- Cover or remove mirrors so the person isn't startled by the "stranger."

-- Organize and structure the environment early in the progression of Alzheimer's, rather than waiting until a person is having problems coping.

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