3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Cognition


4) Carrying out tasks

Couple reading a leaflet

  • Daily tasks can become difficult for the person with cognitive problems. By practicing tasks with supervision at first , patterns may become re-established and sequences remembered. Routines and repetition can be helpful.
  • Problem solving. Try to help the person think for themselves. You can do this by giving supervision and occasional prompts or clues if the person gets stuck or misses a stage during the task. Sometimes just by stopping and looking before they continue they may be able to work out the problem.
  • Completing a task. Sometimes the person cannot complete a whole task. Therapists will sometimes use a technique where they work out which parts of the task the person is able to manage and then work back, adding elements of the task as the person improves. For example making a hot drink. The person could start by just taking milk from the fridge to the cup, pouring and putting away again. Even a task as simple as this has several parts. Then move on to putting the plug into the socket and so on. In this method the person reinforces what they can do and relearns new elements each time until they can eventually attempt the whole task again.
  • Attention to a task. The person may have difficulty with attention to a task. They become easily distracted by what is going on around them or by how they are feeling at that time e.g. if they have pain or are tired, attention will be a problem. Their attention might only be focused for a short time. The ability to attend to more than one task at the same time can be lost.

For more information please see: CHSS booklet: Thinking and behaviour issues following stroke [.pdf].

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