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How to Help a Parent with Memory Loss

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A young man assisting his father cook pasta in a clean and brightly lit kitchen.

Memory loss can be a challenging condition, not just for loved ones experiencing it but also for caregivers or their children. As a member of their support system, you want to provide the utmost assistance and understanding to a parent experiencing memory loss, which can include memory care in a senior living community

As a caregiver, there are numerous practical ways to help your parent navigate this journey by educating yourself, practicing patience, and fostering a nurturing environment to help your parent feel valued, safe, and loved.

Memory Loss

Memory loss in older adults can be from the normal aging process or may indicate something more serious, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Age-related memory loss can look like this:

  • Poor judgment once in a while
  • Missing a monthly payment
  • Forgetting which day it is or a word and remembering it later
  • Losing things occasionally

Memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease can look like this:

  • Poor judgments and decisions a lot of the time
  • Problems taking care of monthly bills
  • Losing track of the date or time of the year
  • Difficulty having a conversation
  • Losing or misplacing things often

Helping a Loved One with Memory Loss

Adult children can look for the warning signs of memory loss in parents and speak to a healthcare provider for an evaluation. However, there are several ways in which you can help a parent with memory loss.

Educate Yourself

Understanding memory loss and its various forms is crucial for offering support. Take the time to educate yourself about your parent’s specific condition, whether dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another memory-related condition. 

By familiarizing yourself with the symptoms, progression, and potential challenges, you can better anticipate your loved one’s needs and respond compassionately. You can also discuss coping strategies with a healthcare provider. 

Foster Open Communication

Maintaining open lines of communication is vital for both you and your parent. Encourage them to express their feelings, fears, and frustrations without judgment. 

Listen actively and validate their emotions, offering support, reassurance, and understanding. Create a safe space for dialogue to build trust and help your parent feel more comfortable sharing their experiences.

Practice Patience

Memory loss can be frustrating, especially for a parent experiencing it. However, for an adult child, situations with memory loss require more patience and understanding. 

When a parent can’t remember a word, help them out. If they forget where they put something, help them find it. 

Avoid Confrontation & Arguments

A parent with memory loss may mistake someone’s name or confuse places and dates. Avoid arguing, confronting, or correcting them all the time. Because of their inability to get it right, it will create anxiety and distress. 

Establish Routines

Memory loss can disrupt a parent’s sense of time and place. Establishing consistent routines can provide a sense of stability and security for them. 

Help make their daily schedule organized and predictable, incorporating regular meals, medication reminders, and enjoyable activities at a particular time of day. Routines can help reduce confusion and anxiety while promoting a sense of familiarity.

Create a Memory-Friendly Environment

Make adjustments to a parent’s living space to support their memory. Use labels and signs to mark important areas, such as the bathroom or bedroom. 

Keep frequently used items easily accessible and organized. Simplify their surroundings by minimizing clutter, as it can be overwhelming for someone with memory loss. Create a calm and structured environment to help aid your parent’s cognition and enhance their well-being.

Encourage Independence

While memory loss can make everyday tasks challenging, it’s essential to promote your parent’s independence as much as possible. Encourage them to engage in activities that they enjoy. 

Break down complex tasks into manageable steps, providing gentle guidance when necessary. When you foster independence, you help your parent maintain their dignity and a sense of accomplishment.

Stay Engaged

A young woman listening to music with her senior father. Both of them using a headset.

Engaging your parent in stimulating activities can benefit their cognitive and emotional well-being. Encourage hobbies they enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or engaging in crafts. 

Plan activities together, such as taking walks, cooking meals, or working on puzzles. Avoid long activities in unfamiliar surroundings. 

Seek Professional Support

Memory loss can be emotionally taxing for both you and your parents. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Connect with support groups or organizations specializing in memory loss to find resources, guidance, and counseling. 

Professional caregivers or respite care services can provide temporary relief, allowing you to take breaks to prevent burnout.

Personalized Support for Memory Loss

Helping a parent with memory loss requires empathy, patience, and adaptability. By educating yourself about their condition, fostering open communication, and establishing routines, you can provide the warm and welcoming environment your parent needs. 

Your support and understanding can significantly affect their quality of life and help them navigate their memory loss journey with dignity and love. Contact us at Mattison Crossing at Manalapan Avenue to schedule a tour and learn about our personalized services for dementia and Alzheimer’s care. 

Morgan Berardi

Written by Morgan Berardi

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