How to Use Labels to Help Someone With Dementia

Don't underestimate the power of a simple label. You might feel silly labeling drawers and shelves with words as obvious as plates or socks. But visual aids like these help your loved one put things away in their proper places -- and find them later. Labels minimize hesitation and confusion.

Some tips:

  • Be specific without being overly detailed. "Cooking tools" is great, but there's no need to list every single item in a drawer of miscellaneous kitchenware.

  • Ink on masking tape works well on most surfaces and is easy to remove later.

  • When reading becomes difficult, try using pictures of plates or socks.

  • Expect this to be only a temporary aid; eventually it may become too difficult for your loved one to translate the label, whether it's in words or pictures.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio