Dealing With Memory Loss
With age, a person may experience changes in behavior, including personality, ability to communicate, judgment and memory loss.
Alzheimers disease is one type of dementia that involves permanent changes in the brain. The person typically experiences a gradual decline. Four million Americans have Alzheimers and two million have other forms of dementia.
However, not all people who show signs of memory loss and
confusion are suffering from dementia. Rather, their symptoms may
stem from depression, stress and the side effects of several medications, strokes, epilepsy, infections or other conditions some of which may be easily treated.
A senior who is exhibiting signs of memory loss and changes in their behavior should have a full geriatric assessment to determine the cause of the confusion.
Understanding Dementia by Placing Yourself in the Other Persons Shoes
The person with dementia may be experiencing frustrations from
Trying to communicate
Difficulty with simple tasks, like dressing
Loss of independence
Changes in mobility
Awareness of their memory loss, resulting in fear and embarrassment
People with Alzheimers disease may become scared because they dont understand what is happening to them. When caring for a confused person, it is very important to view the situation from that persons perspective and to be aware of the terror that he or she may be feeling.
Tips for Maintaining
a Calm Atmosphere
Accept the persons version of a situation. Never argue.
For an important treatment say, “This is for your protection,” and proceed with what needs to be done.
If the person expresses an unrealistic desire, avoid challenging them Instead use positive statements such as, “lets stay inside” as opposed to “dont go outside.”
Use humor to get through the day.
Its Also Not Easy for
You as Caregiver
You can feel frustrations from the persons
Inability to follow instructions and perform daily tasks, which slows the pace of your day
Constant repetition of the same phrases or stories
Rage, withdrawal, or use of profanity
Demands to do things (like driving) that are no longer safe
Also, it is natural for you to have feelings of inadequacy in dealing with the caregiving challenge and heartbreak to be losing the love and friendship of the person you knew.
Getting Help Who you should call
Dementia, Alzheimers or memory loss patients may need care for as long as 20 years. Family members may be able to perform much of the caregiving during the early stages of dementia, but all too often, their physical and emotional resources are exhausted as the patients needs grow, and skilled help becomes necessary. You will need a reliable, kind person who is patient and skilled to care for your loved one.