Dementia is described as a decline in mental abilities so severe that the person affected can no longer perform the daily activities of living. This can include memory loss, behavioral changes, impaired communication and poor judgement. Memory loss is one of the first initial signs and progresses differently for everyone affected. Caused by the progressive damage to brain cells, it’s important to remember that your parent’s actions are the result of a disease.
The Beginning Stage
Memory loss in the beginning stages is rather benign. In fact, many question if it is just a response to growing older. Mild cognitive impairment causes a slight, but noticeable, reduced ability to remember and can lead to Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. It can also reverse itself and get better. The difference is that those with MCI can still perform the daily activities of living whereas those with a form of dementia cannot.
The Later Stage
At this stage of the deterioration, memory loss is defined as a severe cognitive decline. It has gone from your parent being unable to remember a name to being unable to recognize a family member. They have long-term memory, but short-term memory has become greatly affected. It may be difficult for them to complete tasks as they forget what they are doing in the middle of the activity. Confabulation occurs—fabricating an imaginary experience to fill in the memory gaps of recent events. It is at this point that your parent may forget how to use everyday items such as utensils. Time becomes difficult to track and taking a walk in the neighborhood requires assistance due to their inability to remember locations.
How to Help
- If your parent is recalling a past event as if currently experiencing it, be there with them. This is currently where there mind has taken them and trying to talk them out of their present perspective will only cause confusion. It’s a little like story telling. Be on the same page as your parent.
- Don’t take it personally. It may be difficult when a parent doesn’t recognize you, but consider this one of your greatest life lessons—loving someone for who they are in the moment.
- You or another family member may be accused of stealing something that your parent has actually hid and then forgotten. Get to know your parent’s go to hiding places and consider getting duplicates of essential items such as eyeglasses or keys.
- Incorporating a daily routine into their life helps them feel secure. Part of that routine could be spending a little time looking over photographs to remind your parent of friends and family in their lives.
Senior Care Provider
As a family caregiver, you are doing a great service caring for your parent. It’s important to remember to care for yourself, as well. Make some time for yourself each week to do the things you love. Join a support group. Obtaining the services of a senior care provider will allow you to relax, knowing your parent is in good and capable caring hands.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Senior Care in Seminole, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.