As the caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you know that your loved one doesn’t remember like she used to. That’s because even in the early stages of dementia, retaining the memory of even a recent conversation can become a challenge. Dementia damages the brain in such a way that it can no longer store many memories, making it impossible for them to revive that memory no matter how much they try. It simply doesn’t exist.
But we also know that part of the richness of life is being able to remember the people, places, and events that are special to us, so there are things you can do that while they may not spark the actual memory of the event, your loved one can use to help her see the reality of it and to help her navigate the current situation.
These tips can be great for you to implement or if you have an Alzheimer’s care provider who helps with the care of your loved one, they can also help create and use some of these tips.
- Buy your loved one a journal. If your loved one is still capable of writing, put a journal by her main spot to sit and relax and ask her to write down the events of the day as they happen. If her friend comes to visit, have her write it up as soon as the friend leaves, noting the conversations and emotions shared. She can then reflect on this later even if the memory is no longer stored.
- Buy another journal. The second journal can be used by people as they visit. This can be especially helpful if your loved one doesn’t want to or can’t write down the memories herself. Have visitors “sign in” when they visit your loved one and then write a few notes at the end of the visit regarding what they talked about. Your Alzheimer’s care provider can then review those notes with your loved one after they’ve left.
- Take photos. As visitors come, take their photo with your loved one so you can show it to her later. If possible, print out the photos and label them with names and how she knows them so she can know that her friends and family are stopping by for visits. Her Alzheimer’s care provider will be more than happy to snap some photos when visitors are there.
- Write down answers. If your loved one needs help with a repeated question such as “How do I know her?” you can write down the answer so she can read it instead of asking it repeatedly because she can’t remember the answer. For example, when a friend from an old job visits, you can write down “This is Sue. She worked with you at XYZ.”
- Give out name tags. Have everyone who visits wear a nametag so your loved one can see it. This can help if she sees multiple doctors, nurses, and Alzheimer’s care providers as well. Remember to not only include their name but also who they are to her.
There will still be struggles but being prepared with some helpful tips can create a much calmer and enjoyable time together.
If you or an aging loved one need Alzheimer’s care in Fair Oaks, CA, contact A Better living Home Care today (916) 514-7006
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