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10 Ways to Manage Executive Dysfunction

10 Ways to Manage Executive Dysfunction
Linda Guerrera

Managing executive dysfunction can be a challenge. If you care for a loved one and notice changes in their executive functioning, there are ways to improve clarity and quality of life.    

What Is Executive Dysfunction? 

Executive dysfunction is difficulty organizing thoughts, planning, and initiating everyday tasks. It can cause issues in behavior and executive functions.    

It can be so hard to watch someone you love begin to struggle with daily tasks and activities. Organizational skills can become impaired; daily planning, time management, and decision-making become a chore. However, patience, understanding, and strategic planning can make everyday life easier.      

10 Ways to Manage Executive Dysfunction  

Just about everything in life is better with a plan, and managing executive dysfunction is no different. It is always a good idea to be ahead of any issues.   

Here are some tips for managing executive dysfunction in older adults - 

10 Ways to Manage Executive Dysfunction

1. Get a Proper Diagnosis

When there are significant changes in thinking, personality, and appearance, talking to your loved one's doctor can diagnose or rule out underlying medical problems. Effective management relies on a proper diagnosis. Knowing the cause of poor executive function can help you determine a plan.    

2. Manage Their Medication

If your loved one is using prescription medication, make sure that they follow the treatment plan prescribed by their doctor. Executive dysfunction can make it easy to forget to take medicines regularly. Managing symptoms will help improve executive skills and quality of life, maintain health, and can delay the onset of other issues.   

3. Build a Routine

A daily routine can help reduce anxiety and improve executive functioning skills. Creating a structured plan will help with memory and cognitive function, increase awareness, and help your loved one look forward to activities.   

4. Invest in Visual Aids

Large print calendars and little reminder notes go a long way in helping with executive dysfunction. Highlighting dates on the calendar and filling in appointments, etc., can help not only as a reminder but also as a morale booster. Go for the bells and whistles! Daily aids like electronic calendars, automatic pill dispensers, and medication organizers with alarms can be very helpful to someone with executive dysfunction. However, remember that these devices need to be programmed. Make sure to help your loved one set up their devices so they are easy for them to use.    

5. Reduce Clutter

Paperwork, mail, junk, and clutter can decrease focus and make life seem overwhelming. Help your loved one to simplify their life by organizing their environment, which can also help clear their mind. A bonus: when you don't have to move everything around to clean what's underneath, cleaning days are easier and faster!   

6. Talk to an Occupational Therapist

Develop a plan with a specialist or an occupational therapist to improve executive functioning. Strategies and exercises with your loved ones' specific needs and cognitive level in mind can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.       

7. Make Them Social and Active

Regular exercise improves our mental and overall well-being. Light activities, walking, or gardening can make a big difference. Being social helps maintain cognitive function in many ways. It makes us happier, makes us feel like we belong to something, and improves brain activity. Joining a hobby club or participating in community events or social groups are great ways to maintain and improve cognitive function.    

8. Emphasize Nutrition, Hydration, and Sleep

A balanced diet, hydration, and proper sleep are important for everyone's health and well-being. Make sure your loved one is eating right, taking necessary vitamin supplements, and getting restful sleep. Don't take their word for it! All of these three elements can make executive dysfunction even better.  

9. Check in Regularly

It is vital to have open communication with your loved ones' healthcare team. Monitor cognitive function and report any changes. Regular check-ins will ensure the best quality of life since it may be necessary to make periodic changes to the treatment plan.      

10. Take a Break

Caregiver burnout is a thing. Not only do you need time to rest, but it is important to maintain mental clarity and prevent any negative feelings. Respite care services can provide temporary relief while ensuring that older adults' needs are met.   

Managing executive dysfunction in older adults may require adjustments and adaptations to accommodate changing needs. Work with a healthcare professional to ensure a loving, supportive environment to help maintain your loved one's quality of life.   

Products That Can Improve Executive Functions In Older Adults


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HPFY Linda Guerrera

Linda Guerrera

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Linda Guerrera is the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You. As an award-winning media professional, she has spent her entire career as on on-air radio personality, program director, voice-over artist ...

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