Providing care to loved ones living with the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia is overwhelming. It can be time consuming, and physically and emotionally exhausting. Doing it alone isn’t always possible, nor is it healthy for you or your loved one.
As your parent, spouse, or other family member begins to show symptoms and change their behavior, knowing what to expect will aid you in assisting with their care for them and for you.
What should you know about memory loss and how you can help? Here’s a closer look.
Memory loss is about a lot more than simply forgetting simple things, losing short-term memory, or not being able to recall events from the past. Memory loss and dementia can indicate a much larger medical problem, including Alzheimer’s disease.
While some level of forgetfulness is normal, when it becomes overwhelming or disruptive to daily activities, it requires more attention.
What practical steps can you take?
Begin with supporting your loved ones by helping them remember important events or concepts. Help them try to understand new information. Encourage them when they’re trying to recognize someone they should know. Discern fact from fiction to allow them to better understand what is happening.
Keep concepts simple and repeat them often.
Try not to make big changes in their lives that could disrupt their memory. If changes are necessary, go gradually.
Creative therapy techniques, such as music or art projects, can also be useful to help retain memory.
As frustrating as it can be for you to watch your loved one struggle with their memory, know that it is equally as frustrating to be in their own mind.
Help them understand their environment by keeping it familiar. Avoiding unnecessary stress will be better for your wellbeing, and theirs. Stress only exacerbates symptoms, so their environment should be as calm and stress-free as possible. And don’t forget to de-stress in your own life.
Another helpful tool for both you and your loved one, to aid in coping with memory loss, is to create a routine. A daily routine that starts with a regular wake up time, activities, and meal times will help your loved one remember simple tasks and encourage brain health as they learn to cope with their disease.
Relative Care offers a specialized AlzBetter program for you and your loved one living with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Contact us to learn how we can support you.