Memory Care You can Use to Connect with Your Loved One

memory care

Enjoying activities like painting, drawing, and playing music, can help strengthen memory.

When an older family member struggles with memory loss and dementia, we often lose the ability to communicate with them in a way that is satisfying to both of us. Although there is a caregiver in the home so we don’t worry about their safety or health, and we know that trained aides use memory care techniques to sustain our loved one’s cognitive abilities, we want to do something ourselves to hang onto the bond we have with our loved ones.

Trained workers use Reality Orientation, Fantasy Validation, Music and Art Therapy with other techniques to connect with elderly clients, but there are some things you can do too, using the same principles, to maintain the bond with your elderly family member. Playing music, making art and cooking together are all great ways to connect with loved ones who are limited in their communication. Besides that benefit, studies show that these therapies can reduce pain and discomfort in the elderly.

When you play songs from their youth, you stimulate memories that can foster your loved one’s ability to connect with you. They often reminisce, and you may even learn something about your past from engaging them at that level. Research also shows that the mind uses organization tasks to process the music and that can help people reinforce cognitive abilities. When you introduce rhythm and respond to it by moving or dancing with your loved one, you further tap into that organizational element.

Drawing, painting or coloring with an impaired elderly person enables connection by accessing emotions and pleasure areas that the person has trouble verbalizing. When language begins to slip away, emotions are still strong; drawing, using color and texture can activate those emotions and the memories that rise with them.

Even cooking with your loved one is a powerful tool. Food, in its preparation and in the eating of it, is so important to family life and to who we are as individuals( especially women). Simple recipes like scrambled eggs, cakes and cookies, even making a peanut butter sandwich together, can bring back those emotional memories of family that connect us to our loved ones.

For more information on how to enrich your loved one’s life, or to find out how a live-in aide can give you peace of mind,contact us. Together,as a team, we can keep your family ties stronger, longer.

Memory Care can Slow Memory Loss in the Elderly

We all experience some degree of memory impairment as we age. While it affects everyone differently and at a different stage of aging, it is estimated that after late middle age we lose one percent of our brain cells every year. For many, it is as simple as forgetting where the car keys are or not being able to recall someone’s name in a conversation. For others, though, memory loss is a more serious matter. Our loved ones can forget to take medications, for example, or forget that they have already taken them and double-dose.

memory care

Doing mentally challenging activities like crossword puzzles has been shown to slow memory loss.

Because memory loss is one characteristic of Alzheimer’s or dementia, not being able to remember things can be terrifying to an elderly person who desperately wants to maintain the independence of living at home. Some researchers believe that the loss of daily work and physical activity takes away the meaningful structure around which we anchor data. Others think older people have so much more data stored in their memories that it is just more difficult to access.

No matter what the cause turns out to be, we know that there are steps we can take to exercise the brain and prevent or slow memory loss. One of these steps involves physical activity such as walking or targeted exercise. Another thing that may help stave off memory loss is regular reading and, in addition, discussing the book or article. Playing board games is helpful too, because it encourages critical thinking skills. Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally challenging activitiescan be effective; recent studies seemed to show that doing the crossword in the New York Times four times a week reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 50% over those who did the puzzle only once weekly.

That is encouraging. Just the presence of someone in the home offering companionship and challenging your loved one to exercise the body and the brain can make a difference. That is why we offer memory care as a component of our in-home care for the elderly. Our trained staff can be the “nudge” your loved one needs to slow or prevent additional memory loss.

For more information on how we can help your loved one stay happier and healthier longer, contact us.

Memory Care: Stage One of Alzheimer’s Disease

memory care calendar

Using a calendar that’s visible helps people with memory issues feel more comfortable

Alzheimer’s Disease typically follows recognizable patterns in its progression. In each of its three stages, there are specific behaviors and symptoms that are considered “normal.” It is helpful to know these stages as a caregiver so you can make the best decisions for the memory care of your loved one.

If your family member is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, he is in Stage One that typically lasts for two to four years.

Symptoms and how you can help:

  • Time or place disorientation—Avoid arguing and don’t correct your loved one all the time. Offer a gentle reminder of where you are and what is going on.
  • Short-term memory loss—Consider using a board of some sort that shows the day of the week and date. You can place appointment reminders here, too. Also, use this area to keep glasses, keys, and other things used on a daily basis.
  • Lack of energy—Encourage naps each day during appropriate times.
  • Hard time concentrating—Don’t expect the Alzheimer’s patient to focus on a task for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Short tempered, rage, over-reaction, hysteria—Do your best to keep routines. This will help your loved one know exactly what to expect. Also, do not respond to everything, it is the disease talking. Try to stay calm.
  • Depression—Severe depression is experienced by nearly ¾ of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Watch for depressive behaviors and talk with your family member’s doctor about these behaviors you may witness. It can be helpful to use an anti-depressant to treat the depression.

Helping your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease can help you, too. For more information on this condition, don’t hesitate to contact us.