Seniors stepping into their golden years are likely to experience mild memory loss, which is a normal aspect of the aging process. Forgetfulness that is due to aging can be improved when family caregivers intervene and help their parents make lifestyle changes.
What is mild memory loss?
Absentmindedness in the elderly is normal. Over time, the brain rejects memories that are not critical in order to make room for new memories. When mom or dad forgets a doctor’s appointment, the event simply means the elder person was not preoccupied with the scheduled visit.
Normal forgetfulness should not be a trigger for concern. Examples of mild memory loss include mom forgetting why she entered the living room or dad misplacing his keys. These occasional memory lapses fail to prevent the parent from functioning independently.
When mild, instances of memory loss can be recalled by the senior. The parent is still able to make sound judgment calls, keeps her wits about her in familiar places and is capable of holding conversations—despite the occasional loss for the right word or two.
What is extreme memory loss?
An individual who forgets significant information, like the names of loved ones or important words during conversations, shows signs of progressive memory loss. The decline in memory capabilities only worsens over time and may be indicative of a serious condition, like dementia.
When severe, memory loss is debilitating. The forgetfulness prevents the senior from completing routine tasks as she once did. The parent is unable to recall previous instances of forgetfulness. Trouble with judgment is a concern, and the senior becomes disoriented in familiar places. In-home memory care or specialized memory care facilities should be taken into consideration for seniors suffering from extreme memory loss.
How do routines help decrease forgetfulness?
Establishing daily routines in the life of seniors who gradually succumb to mild memory impairment requires little effort. Daily or weekly tasks should be set for the same days. For instance, schedule the laundry for every Tuesday. Routine doctor’s visits should be scheduled every month on a particular day.
Routines can be noted on a large calendar or white board that the parent checks daily. People frequent the kitchen every day, so this room is an ideal spot to hang a calendar. Parents who are tech savvy may rely on smartphones or digital assistants for appointment and task reminders.
How does a nutritious diet improve memory?
One known cause of age-related forgetfulness is a poor diet, especially one with a vitamin B12 deficiency. Munching on healthy foods is critical to delaying the memory loss that accompanies age. Brain boosting staples include salmon, broccoli, avocados and blueberries.
Parents should also stay adequately hydrated. Dehydration can lead to problems, like memory loss and confusion. Elderly individuals should consume six to eight drinks per day. Family members should be especially cautious about proper hydration if the senior takes diuretics or has diabetes or high blood sugar.
Alcohol abuse damages brain cells. If mom or dad consumes heavy amounts of alcohol, persuade the parent to reduce the alcohol intake to one to two drinks per day. Alcohol’s toxic effect on the brain is known to increase the risk of dementia over time.
How does emotional relief improve memory?
Stresses, anxiety and depression are catalysts for episodes of memory loss. The memory loss brought on by emotional issues is usually temporary, at least until the problems are resolved. In such cases, helping parents reduce stress and similar adverse emotional states contributes to improved memory function.
Depression in older adults is common, especially when important life changes occur, such death of loved ones or receiving a serious medical diagnosis. Depression, with its accompanying loss of concentration and remembering things, may seem like memory loss. Treating the depression can help improve memory.
How does stimulation increase mental sharpness?
“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” the saying goes. This maxim applies to the brain and memory just as well. Keep aging parents’ minds sharp by providing mental stimulation daily. Memory should be exercised by playing challenging games, like chess, cards or board games.
When alone, older parents can exercise their brains by completing crossword puzzles, reading books and magazines or engaging in the memorization of poetry. The brain also stays active when the senior pursues a new and interesting hobby that involves a process of learning and adaptation.
How does medication affect memory?
In some cases, prescription medication may cause side effects, like memory loss, in seniors. Schedule a visit with the prescribing doctor to determine whether beneficial medication adjustments may be made. A change in medication may be the antidote to halting increasing forgetfulness.
When forgetfulness increases in loved ones, an adult child caregiver can help reduce the memory loss. Implementing routines, helping a parent consume healthy meals, relieving emotional stresses, increasing mental stimulation and adjusting medications go a long way in helping a parent’s memory stay alert. Visit NIA to learn more about Alzheimer’s Caregiving.
Family members may not always be available to commit to efforts to decrease forgetfulness. When time or distance fails to allow proper care, an in-home caregiver is the next best alternative. Assisting Hands Home Care is staffed with compassionate caregivers who provide exceptional elder care.
Caregivers routinely prepare nutritious meals and engage in pleasant conversation and challenging games, like cards or board games, to stimulate the care recipients’ minds. When a medication adjustment is in order, a caregiver will provide the senior with transportation to the doctor’s office.
Your loved one will have ample opportunity to exercise, when the caregiver accompanies your parent on leisurely walks. Our reliable caregivers also provide personal care, which includes help with bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting.
Avoid long-term care facilities by hiring an in-home caregiver, who will provide optimal care, including and dementia and Alzheimer’s care, for the senior in the familiarity and security of home. Meet with an Assisting Hands Home Care representative to start the in-home senior care process. We will develop a suitable care plan that meets your loved ones’ care needs.
Assisting Hands Home Care dependably serves the senior population and their families who reside in the surrounding communities of Hinsdale, Illinois.