Forgetfulness is sometimes just that. We have so much going on in our lives, that we just don’t pay enough attention. A memory problem can also be from something like a drug interaction, or depression, dehydration or hearing loss. But sometimes forgetfulness is a sign of something bigger.
Our goal is to help your person be safe while keeping his/her confidence and dignity.
Don’t ignore any concerns you have. The first thing to do is make an appointment with your physician or if you are a carer, your first action is to report your concerns. He or she can direct you as to what tests or steps to take. They’ll probably order some tests, blood work, etc.
But here’s some simple things you can do to care for someone with forgetfulness. Our goal is to help your person be safe while keeping his/her confidence and dignity.
- Be patient, be flexible. A person with forgetfulness is not purposely asking a question over and over. Perhaps there’s an unmet need or distress that the person is struggling with. Try to find out why they’re asking the question. Someone continually asking what time dinner is, maybe hungry!
- Keep instructions or new information simple. Repeat it often. Break it down into smaller steps.
- Keep days prepared or structured as much as possible. People with memory loss do better when they know what to expect.
- Lose the words “do you remember”. Because if they don’t; they’ll feel bad about themselves. Instead; reinforce…We’re going to the grocery store today “, instead of “I already told you we were going to the store, don’t you remember?”
- Check for safety.
- Should your loved one be driving? (Have you seen instances where your loved one has forgotten how to get to somewhere familiar?) This is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing families who are encountering memory loss. Enlist your doctor’s help with approaching this topic.
- Are you noticing your loved one “forgetting” to turn off the stove?
- Are you observing medications not being taken properly…maybe you have to refill things too soon, or not at all! Both scenarios could signal that medications are not being taken properly. A medication box with AM & PM may be all that’s needed to manage prescriptions properly. (at the very least, you might be able to see quickly whether meds are being taken).
- Does your loved one wander? Walking around aimlessly, confused, restless? Take steps to assure your loved one’s safety.
- Ask for help problem solving. Solutions can be easier than you think!
- Take care of yourself! Caregivers’ needs are often neglected. Ask for help; perhaps someone can run an errand or visit with your loved one while you run out for a bit. Or just come for a friendly visit to pass the time.
- Have fun! Cherish what you have instead of focusing on what’s wrong, or what’s lost. Adapt activities to your loved one’s abilities.
Remember, people don’t just love to forget what is important, we just have to take it easy with them.