How to Navigate These Changes Compassionately
As our loved ones age, it's not uncommon for them to experience changes in their memory. While this can be difficult for everyone involved, there are things you can do to help your loved one through this process. Here are a few tips.
#1: Understand Changes Your Love One is Going Through
It's essential to educate yourself on the changes your loved one is experiencing. This will help you better understand their condition and how to support them best. They might be experiencing forgetfulness, confusion, and difficulty with communication.
There might also be grief over what they've lost or reliving traumatic memories. It's also important to understand that your loved one's personality might change due to their condition. They might become withdrawn, depressed, or anxious.
#2: Communicate Clearly
Clear and concise communication will be important when talking with your loved one. Be patient and take the time to listen to them. It's also important to use simple language that they will understand.
Now, this should not be confused with talking down to them. Avoid using jargon or words with multiple meanings. For example, saying "We're going to the store" is better than "We're going shopping."
If your loved one experiences difficulty understanding you, try rephrasing your sentence or ask them to repeat what you've said back to you.
#3: Be Patient and Understanding
Patience and understanding are essential when communicating with a loved one with memory loss. Try to be as clear and concise as possible when speaking with them. It's also important to be respectful of their condition and not argue with them.
You should also be aware of your own emotions. Frustration, anger, and sadness are all normal reactions to having a loved one with memory loss. However, it's crucial not to take your frustrations out on your loved one. Instead, try to find a support group or counseling to help you deal with your emotions.
#4: Help Them Stay Connected
Social isolation can be one of the hardest things for a loved one with memory issues. Try to find ways to help them stay connected to the outside world. This could include joining a support group, attending social events, or going on outings together.
You can also help them stay connected by staying in touch with them yourself. This could include sending them letters, cards, or emails. You could also visit them regularly or give them a call.
If your loved one cannot leave the house, there are still ways to help them stay connected. You could bring them books, magazines, or newspapers. You could also watch movies or television shows together.
#5: Talk to Your Loved One Openly About Their Memory Loss
Once you've educated yourself on the changes your loved one is experiencing, it's time to talk to them about it. This can be a difficult conversation, but it's an important one.
Start by telling your loved one that you're there for them and want to help. Then, explain what changes you've noticed and ask if they're experiencing any memory difficulties.
If they are, ask how you can help. This could include making a list of things they need to remember or helping them stay organized. You could also offer to go with them to doctor's appointments.
Talking about their condition will also help your loved one feel more comfortable and less isolated.
#6: Keep a Regular Routine
A regular routine can be beneficial for someone with memory loss. Setting times for meals, activities, and medications can help your loved one feel more in control and less confused.
You can also help them by creating visual aids, such as a daily schedule or calendar. This could be as simple as a list of activities for the day or a more detailed plan of the week's events.
You should also try to keep their environment as consistent as possible. This means avoiding significant changes, such as redecorating their room or moving furniture around.
#7: Encourage Them to Exercise
Exercise is essential for everyone, but it can be especially helpful for someone with memory loss. Exercise can help improve their mood, sleep, and overall health. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
You don't need to push your loved one to exercise if they're not interested. However, you could suggest a gentle walk around the block or some other low-impact activity. Brain stimulating activities like painting or crafts is also recommended. If they're not able to exercise independently, there are still ways to help them stay active. This could include doing chair exercises together or going for a walk with them.
Katy Senior Living and Memory Care
At Silvercrest Assisted Living & Memory Care, we understand how difficult it can be to watch a loved one struggle with memory loss. That's why we're here to help. Our caring and experienced staff can provide the support and assistance your loved one needs to maintain their independence. Please contact us for details.