Is someone you love dealing with age-related memory loss? It can be a scary thing to think about, but age-related memory loss is common, and it’s often more manageable than many people realize. Learn how to help someone with memory loss, so you can provide a helping hand when a loved one needs it the most.
How to Help Someone with Memory Loss
If you’re a senior, odds are good that age-related memory loss is an issue on your radar. Many seniors worry about memory loss, and how it will affect their quality of life in their golden years. If you’re one of them, or if you have a senior loved one who is experiencing it, you might be comforted to learn that age-related memory loss is a natural and manageable part of aging. The more you know about how to help someone with age-related memory loss, the better you’ll be able to deal with it when you need to.
When Should I Be Concerned About Age-Related Memory Loss?
As you or someone you love ages, you may notice an uptick in instances of forgetfulness. Because of the way aging affects the brain, the processes that create and store memories may slow down. Occasional forgetfulness and absent-mindedness are common results. For example, you may have a little more trouble remembering new names than you used to, or you may occasionally forget a minor step in your daily routine. These are normal parts of aging, not red flags, and most seniors are able to navigate them without issue.
However, it’s important to note that there is a difference between age-related memory loss and conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. If memory issues are starting to have a serious negative effect on a senior’s day-to-day life, it’s best to work with a professional to make sure they get the more intensive help they need. Be sure to talk to a doctor about any memory concerns you may have.
Tips for Helping Someone Navigate Memory Loss
Believe it or not, there’s a lot an average person can do to help someone with memory loss. It all comes down to patience, acceptance, and focusing on overall quality of life:
- Help your loved one create and stick to a daily routine. Make sure things happen in the same place, at the same time, every day. The more regular the routine is, the easier it is to remember.
- If your senior loved one occasionally misses a word or a name, give them the chance to correct themselves, but don’t force an answer or correct them constantly. Be encouraging and supportive, and give them the room they need to learn to communicate despite their memory issues.
- Focus on familiar things that can provide comfort and security, like beloved hobbies and well-known places your senior loved one enjoys visiting. New settings and ideas can be challenging for people with memory loss, so don’t push them if they’re already tired or irritable.
- Lists are your friend. Break routines and complicated information down step by step, explain each detail separately, and write things down for reference. You can even leave sets of written instructions around their living space if that helps!
- Encourage them to consider adaptive strategies, like pill reminders for their phone or a notebook they can carry to keep reminders at hand. The more they adapt, the easier it will be.
When determining how to help someone with memory loss, you can’t go wrong if you lead with respect. Be patient, be kind, and help your loved one keep living their best life possible.
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