May spill something and not clean it up

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens: Any stage

Why it happens: It's not that the disease process is making the person a slob. He or she simply lacks the wherewithal to get the job done. Cleaning, after all, is a multistep process: realizing the need, getting the cleaning agent and a cloth, mopping or scraping the debris, and so on. The sheer number of steps can seem overwhelming, or the person thinks, "I'll get right on it. . . ." and then gets distracted or forgets. Poor hand coordination and control because of the physical effects of Alzheimer's can also contribute to spills.

What you can do:

  • Try not to nag. This behavior isn't intentional.

  • Clean it yourself. Spilled liquids or objects are a tripping hazard, which could cause injuries that last a lot longer than the few minutes of mopping.

  • Though you can't avoid all spills, you can minimize them by not using open pitchers and switching to a watering can with a long, narrow spout.