Whether it’s a close family member, a friend, or a patient, watching someone suffering from memory loss can be emotionally difficult for several reasons. It can be distressing to witness a loved one struggling with memory loss or cognitive problems, especially if they always remembered important events and were the first ones to call you on your birthday but can no longer seem to remember the day of the week. It can also be challenging to watch someone go through the process of forgetting things, as it can be a reminder of our own mortality and the fragility of our memories. Memory loss can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, which can be a source of worry and concern.
Even the experience of caring for a loved one with memory loss can be physically and emotionally draining, which can take a toll on caregivers. That’s why you may want to think about contacting memory care facilities to assist you in taking care of your loved one. However, before you reach out to a facility, such as Balfour Care, you want to have a conversation with the affected individual and ensure that they are aware of their issues and agree to receive help.
Our staff has outlined some symptoms of memory deficit you may recognize in your loved one and five techniques you can utilize to ensure that your conversation with them goes as smoothly as possible.
Recognizing Signs of Memory Loss
If someone you love is suffering from memory loss, you may notice the following signs in their behavior:
They may repeat the same questions and phrases. People with memory loss can repeat the same questions because their brain is having difficulty retaining new information or retrieving stored information. If a person is experiencing repeated questioning, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause and ensure that they are receiving appropriate treatment.
They frequently misplacing or losing their belongings. They may forget that they put the item in a certain location, or they may not be able to remember the location itself.
In some cases, people with memory loss may also have difficulty organizing and planning, which can lead to them misplacing items. They may put things in unconventional places, or they may not have a system for keeping track of their possessions.
They get lost easily, even in areas that should be familiar to them. They may forget the layout of a place or how to get to a certain location, even if they have been there many times before. This can be a stressful and disorienting experience, and it may cause a person to become anxious or agitated. In some cases, people with memory loss may also have difficulty with spatial orientation and perception, which can make it harder for them to understand their surroundings and navigate through them.
This can be dangerous if your family member is living in a home that is not secure or easy to get around. That’s why it’s important to look into living in a facility expressly designed for residents with memory impairment.
They can’t remember words or have difficulty recalling terms. Difficulty with word retrieval or recalling the names of common objects can be a result of impaired memory. This can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience, and it may cause a person to withdraw from social situations or avoid activities that involve language and communication. In some cases, people with memory loss may also have difficulty with language processing and comprehension, which can make it harder for them to understand and remember new words or concepts
They have frequent mood swings. Changes in mood or behavior can be a result of their impaired memory and the frustration, anxiety, and confusion that can accompany it. They may become agitated or aggressive if they are unable to communicate their needs or if they feel overwhelmed by their surroundings. They may also experience changes in mood or behavior as a result of medication side effects or other physical or emotional changes.
It’s important to note that everyone can experience the above signs from time to time, and this does not necessarily indicate a significant memory problem. However, if a person is experiencing repeated instances of these signs, it could be an indication of a memory issue and it may be a good idea to contact our health professionals at our memory care facilities.
5 Steps to Having a Conversation with Your Loved One
It can be especially difficult to bring up a conversation about the cognitive problems a loved one may be experiencing. However, taking the right steps will ensure that the process goes smoothly and that they receive the appropriate help. Here’s how you can assure a comfortable conversation with your loved one:
1. Make Sure the Setting Is Relaxed
It is important to choose a good time to have a conversation with your loved one when you are both feeling calm and not under pressure. A familiar setting such as your loved one’s home is a great place to have a conversation to create a sense of comfort. However, it is not a good idea to have the conversation if your loved one is feeling unwell or stressed about other pressing health issues, as this may not be an ideal time for them to have a focused and productive conversation.
2. Be Aware of Their Reactions
When you are having a conversation with someone about their memory loss, you should make space for unexpected reactions as it may not go as you had hoped. It is likely that your loved one might become upset if you bring up concerns you have about the status of their memory.
3. Think About How You Will Start the Conversation
Yes, it is natural to feel uncomfortable discussing a loved one’s memory loss, as it can be a sensitive and emotional topic. Planning a few conversation starters can help you to feel more prepared and confident in having the conversation. Know what you will say and whether you will suggest a plan of action such as looking into memory care facilities with them. It is also a good idea to focus on specific situations or observations that you have noticed, as this can help to keep the conversation focused and avoid any potential misunderstandings.
Try to use “I” statements, such as, “I noticed you have trouble recalling things,” which will allow you to structure conversations in a non-aggressive way. It’s important to approach the conversation with care and concern and to be mindful of your loved one’s feelings and needs.
4. Comfort Your Loved One
Be prepared to offer plenty of reassurance and support to your loved one during and after the conversation about their memory problems. Let them know that you are there for them and willing to provide the emotional support they need. Your calm demeanor can help to put your loved one at ease.
To start the conversation, reassure your family member that you are only bringing up the topic because you are concerned about their health and any memory loss they may be experiencing. You may also want to consider bringing a family member with you to provide additional support and to show your loved one that they are not alone and that their relatives care about their well-being.
5. Develop The Right Plan for Their Situation
If your loved one is receptive to seeking help for their memory problems, it’s a good idea to involve them in the process of creating a plan of action. This could involve making an appointment with a healthcare provider or specialist who is experienced in treating cognitive disorders. It could also involve seeking out senior living or memory care facilities that could help them deal with their cognitive challenges.
By including your loved one in the planning process and demonstrating your desire to help them find solutions, you can provide them with a sense of support and empowerment and allow them to have a say in their situation.
Memory Care Facilities at Balfour Care
Balfour Care offers memory care facilities that use an advanced approach to understand and care for residents with memory loss. Every resident’s situation is unique, so we approach each person with the attention and grace they deserve.
At Balfour Care, we encourage our residents who are experiencing cognitive impairment and memory loss to get involved in our well-planned-out activities and events, which include aquatic therapy, theater performances, and gardening. We are strong believers in using approaches that allow residents to feel included and hopeful.
If you have concerns about a loved one and think they may benefit from seeking out memory care facilities, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of professionals at Balfour Care. Our staff will be happy to iron out any details regarding our memory care facilities and Dementia Day Program. We encourage you to schedule a tour of one of our facilities so that you can decide whether it is well-suited for your senior family member. Reach out to us today to arrange your visit.