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Talking to a senior with dementia

How to Deal With Memory Loss In Parents

How to Deal With Memory Loss In Parents

Caring for a loved one as they age is incredibly difficult. It’s a constant reminder of our mortality and the inevitability of time. But it’s even harder when that loved one is a parent suffering from memory loss brought on by Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive go-to guide on how to deal with memory loss in parents.

Which just makes the pressure more immense, the stress more overwhelming, and the emotional toll more devastating.

We understand your frustration. And we know how it must feel to watch as the parent you’ve always known and loved start to change—become more prone to mood swings and aggressive behavior.

That’s why we put together this short list of practical strategies you can use to overcome these challenges. Here, you’ll find guidance on how to talk to a parent about memory loss and what you can do to make the entire process less painful for everyone involved.

Know the Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia before they progress will give you and your family time to come together, process the situation, and formulate a plan. Here are 10 early signs that might lead to an early diagnosis, as identified by the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Misplacing common, everyday items
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Inability to maintain a conversation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty remembering recent events or conversations
  • Poor decision-making
  • Inability to plan
  • Losing track of time
  • Impaired vision
  • Struggling with familiar tasks and activities

If you recognize any of these signs, it might be time to consult a medical professional to confirm the diagnosis.

Maintain a Positive Environment

No one is ever really taught exactly how to deal with memory loss in parents, which means most of us may not have the necessary tools to have a productive conversation about next steps after diagnosis. There’s no classes on what not to say to someone with memory loss.

But those first few conversations with your parent(s)—while difficult—are absolutely critical, and your communication style will have a dramatic impact on the outcome.

Try to remember that, in emotional situations, non-verbal cues like your body language might be sending the wrong message. Be aware of your body and the energy you’re bringing into the room, and try to set a positive tone by using clear, respectful language.

Simply knowing they’re loved and supported will help your mother or father remain calm as they take in everything you have to say.

Give Yourself a Break

In many ways, the outcome of these discussions—and the following months—depends greatly on how you respond to the situation.

While we know it’s difficult, try to keep your sense of humor as you work through the hard times. As their memory loss progresses, you might find that your loved one starts behaving in ways that seem out of character. Maybe they become quick to anger or start using strong language in casual conversation. Or perhaps they become jealous, accusatory, or paranoid.

While troubling, this is completely normal—very common in older adults with Alzheimer’s.

Remember that you can’t control the person, but you can control your responses.

Ask for Support

What you’re going through is hard. It’s emotional and frightening, but you don’t have to do it all on your own.

There are plenty of organizations, support groups, and resource centers to help you navigate the ups and downs that come with acting as a primary caregiver. And there are plenty of people who are also learning how to deal with memory loss in their parents. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try using the Family Care Navigator, a specialized tool that helps people just like you find the support they’re looking for.

Now, suppose you’re considering bringing in some level of outside support to help care for your loved one. The good news? You’ve got options. It’s just a matter of doing your research and making sure the services you enlist can provide the level of care you’re looking for.

At The Moments, we specialize in care for older adults coping with memory loss. Our customized programs are tailored to the individual needs of each resident, our staff is highly trained in conflict resolution, and our facilities are designed for comfort—looking more like a 5-star hotel than a typical senior living community.

For more information, contact us or schedule a tour at https://themoments.com/.

TAKE A TOUR

Our resident specialist will give you a private tour of The Moments Memory Care Community and answer any questions you may have.

THE MOMENTS
COVID-19
Safety Protocols

Our HVAC system was uniquely designed to deliver six complete air changes per hour which means clean air, safer air, throughout the building. Our resident rooms have individual fresh air and filtration above the windows, both designed to increase safety and sanitation levels.

Our normal protocol includes rigorous daily disinfecting of resident rooms and common areas. During every shift, staff disinfects doors, handrails and other common areas.

Meals have shifted from community gatherings to small group, socially distanced meals that are served in shifts, tables and chairs are sanitized after each seating.

ALL residents and staff are tested bi-weekly, at a minimum and take temperature checks are conducted daily of all residents.

Anybody – staff, caregivers, residents, vendors – who enters The Moments will pass through the ENTRY where Far-UVC lighting will inactivate surface-level viruses and bacteria

Additionally, prior to each
shift staff:

  • Undergo a health
    screening, temperature
    check and contact risk
    evaluation surveys prior
    to entering the building
  • Are required to wear a
    facemask and goggles
    at all times
  • Constantly conducting
    thorough handwashing
    and hand sanitization
    during their shifts

Essential caregivers/visitors
are required to:

 

  • Undergo a health
    screening, temperature
    check and contact risk
    evaluation surveys prior
    to entering the building
  • Wear masks during
    their visit
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