Taking care of someone with memory loss provides a variety of challenges. When the individual with Alzheimer’s dementia (or memory loss) is a family member, the emotional challenges of the situation intensify. Being aware of some of the things experienced by an individual with Alzheimer’s memory loss is going to be extremely helpful for a caregiver. Here are five tips for taking care of an individual or family member with memory loss related to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Enter Their World
Although your loved one is physically still there with you, the reality that they are experiencing has drastically changed. In order to accommodate them and make sure that they are as comfortable as possible, it is imperative to set aside your own notions about reality and enter their world as much as possible. This means releasing a lot of structure you and your loved one have shared. It is not easy, but as soon as you are able to stop thinking about what should be, or what used to be, and concentrate on what is happening now, you will be able to put your loved one at ease.
- Be Ready to Repeat Yourself
A loved one with memory loss will cover a whole range of emotions in the course of an hour, never mind the span of one day. One aspect that you will need to be prepared for is repeating the same thing over and over and over. Your tone of voice is very important. No matter how many times you have to repeat the same thing and tell your loved ones what your name is because of their memory loss, always be sure to keep your expression as if it is the very first time you have said it. Research has shown that individuals with memory loss are extremely intuitive and extremely emotionally sensitive. An individual with memory loss will be able to tune in to someone who is impatient, and they will only be confused, and possibly agitated, because they will not understand the reason why.
- Watch Out For Wandering
A loved one with memory loss may be agitated at times. There may be stretches where they are very much at ease, also. In any event, physical energy will vary from day today. One must be on the lookout and aware for individuals who wander. Walking, and pacing are very common among individuals with Alzheimer’s and memory loss. Be sure to lock doors and have chirp alarms installed.
- Staying Active and Occupied
There is a phrase that mentions how idle hands are unproductive. An individual with memory loss may tend to fidget with their hands or feet. One thing that is very productive is to find a task that will occupy the individual, such as folding towels. It is a simple task, and it is very helpful! There are many other ideas that will help the patient feel useful and occupied.
- Music Works Wonders
Singing and listening to music are wonderful activities for individuals with memory loss. Music is great therapy. Many dementia patients enjoy the rhythm of the music, the repetition of the words, and the familiarity of some songs. Music may trigger very soothing and comforting memories in an individual with memory loss.
Whether your loved one is in an assisted living facility or a nursing home due to dementia or memory loss related to Alzheimer’s, remember that you are not alone. medical professionals around the world are striving to find better ways to combat dementia and memory loss. In fact, in 2011, $450 million was allocated for Alzheimer’s research by the U.S. government. Hopefully progress will continue to be made in the effort to stave off memory loss and ease the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s disease.