9 Simple Methods you can use to help declutter the home of someone with Autism and/or Alzheimer’s
April is National Autism Awareness Month and we thought we’d share some ways to declutter the home that will help those with Autism. The best part is, these methods will also help those with Alzheimer’s.
Changing a person’s environment can be very frustrating, even if you don’t have Autism or Alzheimer’s, but when you have a disorder or a disease it’s enhanced. Try to make everything the same as it always has been.
This would not be a good time to purchase new furniture, or rearrange the house.
Even the slightest little thing can be extremely upsetting.
Come up with ideas to incorporate ways to reduce frustration and anxiety and increase their understanding.
1) There are some simple things you can do like purchase an erasable calendar and have a clear, concise schedule laid out so they can understand it.
2) Give warnings when something is about to come up, Your doctor appointment is in a half-hour, we’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes. Things like this, it can ease their frustration as well as yours.
3) Avoid loud noises, flickering lights, and anything that may cause frustration or stress. This could be as simple as replacing light bulbs or turning the volume down or the television or radio.
When your home is cluttered, it frustrates the person with Autism or Alzheimer’s because they have a hard time finding things.
4) Let go of things, get rid of the old magazines lying around and keep a few of their favorites.
5) Keep floors clear from trip hazards such as throw rugs, extension cords, or anything else that may be in the walkway. They don’t always watch where they’re walking and if they trip, they can become very angry.
Check out our blog on the Senior Home Safety Checklist, this list can be attributed to everyone and shares some valuable insight to things you may never think of.
6) When decluttering someone else’s belongings, involve them in the process. You may look at that old, stained styrofoam cup as trash, but to someone with Autism or Alzheimer’s, it could be something they are emotionally attached to for whatever reason.
7) Make sure you explain to them what you are doing and why, they will most likely forget and keep asking you what and why you are doing this. This will only frustrate both of you. Put it in writing, so they can read what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will help ease the frustration levels as they can refer back to paper when they want to question it again.
8) Start in the smaller places like the bathroom or the kitchen. If you see they have five toothbrushes in the cabinet say something like, Do you use a different one for each weekday? That’s a great idea, but can we just use one toothbrush every day?
Just make sure to not sound judgemental, there is a reason they have five different toothbrushes in the cabinet, they just may not remember or know why, but it makes sense to them.
9) Declutter slowly, this is a big step and can be very upsetting. Take frequent breaks if you need to and go back to it after a nice lunch or a cup of tea. Have some meditation music playing quietly in the background to help them remain calm.
Remember, you are upsetting their world, take things slow, involve them in the decluttering process, and start small.
We are all here to assist the person with Autism or Alzheimer’s live a happy and healthy life and together we make it happen.