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Caring for Someone Experiencing Memory Loss

Caring for someone with memory loss is a tough job. It requires knowledge, creativity, patience, firmness and gentleness. Forgetfulness is said to be a normal part of our daily lives. It only becomes a serious problem when forgetfulness is caused by dementia. Brain functions like memory, thinking, language and the ability to take care of yourself diminishes over time. Unfortunately, there are no available medications or treatments to reverse or stop the progress of dementia.

Conditions involving memory loss and confusion are sometimes difficult for family members and carers. Knowing what to expect in dementia helps set your mind and emotions. It is important to concentrate on the comfort and well-being of the person who is experiencing memory loss and confusion. Family members, other relatives and friends need to make adjustments in how they can relate to the person living with dementia.

If you are an immediate family member or the carer, knowing how to respond to a person at any stage of dementia will be of great help.

Be patient and answer with brief sentences. A person with memory loss will forget your name or how you are related to each other. It will hurt for sure, but making your hurt apparent will do them no good. There will also be instances wherein that person will get frustrated and mad at you for something that only they will understand. A person living with dementia tend to ask the same thing over and over again. They will go through someone else's drawers thinking that it belongs to them.

Deep breathing techniques are helpful in calming your senses. Don't overwhelm the person with too much information or engage them in lengthy stories. Get to the point and speak slowly with them at an eye-to-eye level. Wait for them to reply and don't stress them to acknowledge what you just said or answer your question.

Don't take it personally. Dementia takes away your loved ones' character and personality. There will be a point in time when you will look at them and realise - they look the same but it's not who they are anymore. As a family member, it will be frustrating, sad and painful. However they need your continued support and understanding.

Caring for Someone Experiencing Memory Loss

If you know that you are near your tipping point or when you start thinking that a particular scenario is unbearable, ask someone to cover for you for a while. Take a breather. You need to be in a good mindset and good physical condition for you to be an effective and efficient carer.

Don't take it personally. Dementia takes away your loved ones' character and personality. There will be a point in time when you will look at them and realise - they look the same but it's not who they are anymore. As a family member, it will be frustrating, sad and painful. However they need your continued support and understanding.

If you know that you are near your tipping point or when you start thinking that a particular scenario is unbearable, ask someone to cover for you for a while. Take a breather. You need to be in a good mindset and good physical condition for you to be an effective and efficient carer.

Offer a guess or corrections as suggestions. Help out the person living with memory loss whenever they become frustrated over something that they forget. Choose your words carefully and watch out for your tone. Being too reprimanding or condescending will make them more frustrated.

Optimistic approach. Action is louder than words. Even if you're not talking, your attitude and body language will give away your current feelings and thoughts. Use positive facial expressions and tone of voice. If necessary and applicable, use physical touch to convey your message. There is no good way to show affection other than human touch.

Evoke memories but avoid questioning. Reminisce through family pictures for it serves as a reminder of important relations and events. However avoid asking: "Do you remember this person...?" or "When was this photo taken...?" Instead, try saying: "I think this is your granddaughter..." or, "I think this was taken at your daughter's wedding..." Provide facts, trinkets and photographs that triggers loving memories of the past.

Sensory items. Establish a meaningful connection even when words are no longer effective through sensory items. This could be as simple as giving them a soft hand massage, stuffed animals or pets. Another powerful way to stimulate the senses is by letting them listen to Music. There were studies that show how music positively affects the human brain.

A good quality life is attainable for both the person living with dementia and their carers or family members. This is possible through proper preparations, mind setting and accepting the fact that life will never be the same again with this illness.

Caring for a loved one with dementia is indeed challenging and rewarding at the same time. So while they are still here, let's help them live their life well and worthwhile.



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