How do I help my husband who keeps losing his car keys, wallet, and phone charger? I’m not much better; I keep losing small bottles of hand sanitizer.
As caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, you would think we would be sensitive to putting things back where they belong. But life has a way of making us lose focus and we tend to misplace things while we take care of loved ones.
The question we need to ask is: How do I stop misplacing things?
In this question is the answer.
Stop misplacing things!
The solution is to build habits until they become mindless automation.
Two habits to stop losing things:
1. Always put something back in its place.
I always return my car and house keys to the shelf by the back door. While away from home, my house keys stay in my right pants pocket or purse and my car keys usually go in my purse or another pocket. If I could only remember the key code on my car door!
If your husband always puts his wallet and cell phone charger in the same place, he will never spend time looking for them again.
My husband keeps his wallet in many places–book case, in the car, on the freezer in our storage room, in the spare bedroom, and even on top of the car. Once, he forget he had placed it on top of the car while we were visiting Wisconsin and he began driving. It must have stayed there for a few miles. But as he picked up speed on a four-lane road, it flew off. Because that’s where an early morning jogger spotted it and took it to the police station the following day. What old-fashioned honesty! A year later, someone called after finding his address book.
There are times my husband leaves for work only to return because he forgot his wallet.
If he always put it in the same place, he’d build mindless automation in his routine. Then again, he remembers the key code to get into my car!
2. Always carry your necessities in the same place.
I always place my lip balm in the outside flap pocket of my purse, right next to my chewing gum, and hand sanitizer. However, even I slip up from time to time. While eating out, I’ll use the hand sanitizer then place it on the table. I have left a half-dozen tables with a bottle of hand sanitizer. I need to refer to my own Habit #1.
I always have my smart phone a few feet away from me or in my hand, purse, or back jeans pocket when away from home/office. When sleeping, I turn it off completely and placed it on the nightstand.
Reduce the number of necessities carried while away from home/office. Having more things to keep track of makes it easier to lose them. For example, when I travel, I only carry two credit cards (one personal and one business) and one debit card.
Just two habits plus a bonus rule and you’re all set to stop losing things. Now, could someone tell my husband this?