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Following Instructions | Management Strategies

  1. If the person you care for can understand what they read, then it may be helpful to write out the instruction for them to refer back to. For example, instructions on how to use the telephone may be left by the phone.

  2. Break down a complex activity into smaller parts and give the instructions for each of the small parts separately. This will be more manageable for the person you care for, as it will be easier for them to remember and carry out fewer instructions at a time.

  3. When giving instructions, use simple sentences and avoid difficult vocabulary. If you are asked to repeat the instructions, due so using the same words as before. This way the person you care for will not think that you are saying something entirely new and become confused.

  4. If the person you care for becomes stuck in the middle of a task, prompt them to remember the next step so that they can continue the task. For example, if they stop in the middle of their personal care, hand them the next item like a comb or a toothbrush.
  5. If the person you care for is repeatedly performing one instruction over and over again, distract them to another activity.

  6. Problems with following instructions can be a real source of frustration for the person you care for as well as for you. Sometimes it is best to leave the task for another time or to gently guide the person to another task.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Repetitive Behaviour
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Unsafe Actions
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Attention/Concentration (lack of)
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Telephone Use
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 9, 2019
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