Saturday, May 14, 2022

What Not To Say To Someone With Memory Loss

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Stages Of Alzheimers Disease

Short Term Memory Loss – What It Is, What Causes It, and How To Prevent It

Alzheimers disease will have a different effect on each person, but it typically progresses in three separate stages.

Early Stage. Your parent might find it more difficult to learn new information, remember something that just happened or plan an activity that requires executive functioning.

Middle Stage. This is where your parents ability to think clearly becomes more difficult. Its common that in this stage, long-term memories begin to fade, emotional and behavioral changes occur, and your parents visual and spatial abilities will decline.

Late Stage. In this last stage, your parents physical functioning will decline, making tasks like walking or getting dressed incredibly difficult for them. It is in this stage that your parent will need a caregiver the most to help them with their basic needs.

Watching your parent go through these stages can be heartbreaking and frustrating. But you can still help make life enjoyable for them and continue having valuable conversations, as long as you know what phrases or questions to avoid.

Outrageous Things People With Dementia Say And How To Respond

Dementia can cause people to say and do some pretty odd things. Family caregivers may be caught off-guard at first, but as they learn about their loved ones condition, it should become easier to adapt to these new quirks. However, people who are not providing care for someone with dementia typically arent familiar with the unusual symptoms that Alzheimers disease can cause. When elders living with cognitive decline need to interact with outsiders as they venture out to shop, attend doctors appointments, socialize and live their lives, embarrassing and sometimes inappropriate scenarios may ensue.

Handling dementia-related behavior changes while out in public is a harrowing experience at times. I can recall one instance when I was sitting with my neighbor, Joe, at the local clinic, waiting for some medical tests he required. Joe saw a man pulling an oxygen tank behind him and excitedly yelled, Look! Hes got a golf cart! While an outsider would have been confused by his exclamation, it made sense enough to me. Joe had loved playing golf as a younger man, his sight was poor and his word-finding abilities had declined over the years. He saw and announced what he knew: a golf cart. The man walking by was embarrassed. I simply smiled at him and redirected Joe, asking him to tell me his best golfing stories.

A Note About Unproven Treatments

Some people are tempted by untried or unproven “cures” that claim to make the brain sharper or prevent dementia. Be cautious of pills, supplements, brain training computer games, or other products that promise to improve memory or prevent brain disorders. These might be unsafe, a waste of money, or both. They might even interfere with other medical treatments. Currently there is no drug or treatment that prevents Alzheimer’s or related dementias.

However, there are currently several drugs available by prescription to safely treat the symptoms of early and mid-stage Alzheimer’s. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, your doctor may suggest that you take one of them.

How to protect yourself and others from unproven treatments:

  • Beware if the product claim seems too promising and if it conflicts with what youve heard from your health care provider.
  • Question any product that claims to be a scientific breakthrough. Companies marketing these products often take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable and looking for a miracle cure.
  • Check with your doctor or health care professional before buying any product, including those labeled as dietary supplements, that promises to improve your memory or prevent dementia.
  • Report any products or supplements being advertised as a treatment for Alzheimer’s or other diseases on the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations website.

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Dont Use Slang Or Figures Of Speech

As dementia progresses, it can become harder for someone to understand what youre trying to tell them. For example, telling a loved one with Alzheimers disease that its “no use crying over spilled milk” might result in him looking to see where the milk has spilled, rather than end up comforting him or encouraging him not to focus on a past problem.

In fact, the proverb interpretation test, which asks the test taker to interpret abstract ideas such as the spilled milk reference above, is one way to screen for symptoms of dementia.

What To Do When A Friend Has Memory Loss

101 Sympathy Messages: What To Write In Your Sympathy Card

It can be extremely challenging when you realize a good friend has memory loss. It’s a common problem one study estimates that 40 percent of adults over 50 have what’s called age-related memory loss.

It is essential to remain connected, because people who don’t have contact with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. It is also essential to take care of yourself and allow yourself to process the changes. Pay attention to what you have with your friend focus on what still exists instead of what is lost.So what can you do as a friend of someone who is having memory issues?

  • Encourage your friend to join a book club with you. If you have known one another for a long time, initiate reconnection with other old friends. Being with other people in meaningful ways helps keep her “sharp.”

. is a licensed psychologist with more than 25 years of experience as a relationship expert, focusing on families, couples, parenting, aging well, managing stress and maintaining balance in one’s life. Dr. Atkins has a private practice in New York City

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I Don’t Know How You Feel But I Am Here To Help In Any Way I Can

It’s okay to acknowledge that you don’t know exactly how it is to be in their shoes, but you’re still there for them for anything they might need. Even if you’ve experienced grief before in your life, everyone grieves differently and every relationship is unique, so you never actually know how someone else feels.

“Grief is awkward for everyone, including the person experiencing it. So the best thing to do is just to be there for your grieving loved one” says Bradshaw.

Let the grieving person express their emotions without judgment or criticism. If they don’t feel like talking, you can squeeze their hand or offer a hug. If the tears come, remember that you didn’t make them sad you simply gave them a safe space to express it, says Vollmann.

Comforting Texts To Send To A Person Who Is Grieving

Knowing what to say to a person who is grieving is not always easy. Finding the appropriate words to comfort them in their time of need can prove difficult especially when you dont have much experience with death.

Using some of these suggested words above can help you avoid the silence that follows when you are at a loss for words in many of these situations.


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Dont Cry Or You Need To Be Strong Now

A griever thinks: I cant stop. I want to cry. I need to cry. If I cry people will think Im weak.

We all grieve in our own way some people will cry. A lot. Some people wont. There is no right or wrong way, and however someone is grieving they should feel supported to cry as much as they want to, and not feel they are being judged for it. Many will already be feeling a lot of anxiety about handling this the right way with the children. You do not need to exacerbate it with the pressure of containing their emotions.

Another important note is that crying in front of children is not a bad thing. Children will take their cues from adults regarding when and how they can grieve the loss. Hiding emotions can be confusing for children and may make them feel like they have to do the same.

Should I Correct Someone With Memory Loss

When memory loss is and isn’t normal

Whether or not to correct older adults with memory problems depends on the severity of the problem.

  • If they have been diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimers disease, then its likely not a good idea to try to correct them.
  • If its very slight short-term memory loss , then its likely the right thing to do.

When I interned as an Occupational Therapist, I was living in South Florida. The majority of patients in hospitals and rehab centers were elderly and many of them had mild to severe memory problems.

The thinking back then was that if the patient said it was 1953 we were supposed to correct them. If they said that their mother was coming to pick them up soon, we were supposed to remind them that their mother had passed away many years ago.

As you can probably imagine this was not a good approach and made for very difficult conversations. My poor patients became frightened, anxious and even more confused.

Thankfully, that only lasted my first year as an OT then medical professionals realized it was impacting the mental health of dementia patients and the approach evolved to what it is today. Which is that if you are aware of memory problems in your elderly loved one and they make a statement that isnt true or they forget an event just go along with it, let it slide and dont make an issue of it.

This technique is called Therapeutic Fibbing and its very effective.

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How To Write A Beautiful Condolence Card To Someone Who Has Lost A Child

By: Casey Gauntt

How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a child or young adult.

I wish I didnt have so much experience on this subject. As I wrote in the Condolences story posted on the site in November 2012, our family received hundredsmaybe a thousandcards and letters after our 24 year old son, Jimmy, was struck and killed by an automobile walking home in the early morning after a party in the summer of 2008. Since then I have lost my mother, my best friend and a 23 year old niece. My father-in-law died on my 61st birthday and other family members and good friends have lost spouses, siblings and parents. There has not beennor will there ever bea shortage of occasions to receive and express condolences, and probably nothing harder to write than a card or letter to someone who has lost a child.

What can you possibly say or write to someone who has lost a child when you are dragged into your own nightmare just by thinking about it? What if I lost one of my children or siblings? As I fessed-up in The Fraternity, I never said anything to my dentist after his seven year old son suffocated to death when a cave hed been digging into a hillside in his backyard collapsed on him. I found a new dentist. It took me several years before I told my long-time physician how deeply sorry I was his son took his lifeor that my father had taken his. It took the death of my own son for me to instigate that conversation.

What Not To Say: How Are You Doing

When you offer this well-worn phrase, the person is most likely hearing something different: Something like, Please tell me youre doing ok, because its uncomfortable if you say youre not doing well, says Brennan. When faced with this question, people are more likely to respond with fine or OK, rather than really communicating their feelings.What to say instead: Its really tough right now for you.Acknowledge that what theyre going through right now is very painful, says Soffer. Dont gloss over their feelingslet them have the chance to grieve fully and without judgment.

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In Loving Memory Of My Child

There is nothing worse than losing a child, and there are truly no words to describe this grief. Here are some ways to remember a child for everything they were and everything they could have been.

15. Ill love you forever, Ill like you for always, as long as Im living, my baby youll be.

This poem comes from Robert Munsch’s book, Love you Forever. It was a tribute to his stillborn children and the love that they would have forever from their mom and dad.

16. Memories saturate my heart and the story of you spills from my eyes.

As parents, we want our children to live on forever and their story to be known in the hearts of many. This quote from Grace Andrens, Speaking in Tears: The Poetry in Grief really speaks to this experience.

17. An angel in the book of life wrote down our baby’s birth. Then whispered as she closed the book ‘too beautiful for earth.’

If you are religious and are comforted by the fact that your child is in heaven with God, this quote is a beautiful option.

18. I will hold you in my heart until I can hold you in heaven.

This is another good option if you are religious. Our hearts are filled when we imagine that there will come a day when, once again, we can hold our children in our arms.

19. There is no footprint so small, that it does not leave an imprint on this world.

20. You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret you return to the beauty you have always been.

Don’t Assume They’re Confused All The Time

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Even though someone has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, they may still have frequent times of clarity.

For instance, someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s may tell you that a friend had called and said they would be stopping by at a certain time. You might doubt if they really had the information correct, but sure enough, later that day, you will see that their friend was there to visit.

Remember not to discount everything said by a person with dementia.

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Tips For Handling A Seniors Aggression

Most importantly, try not to take the aggressive behavior personally, Hashmi says.

The classic line I always use is that this is the disease talking. It is not the person, Hashmi says. There is a lack of awareness in that moment. Its not your mom or dad or spouse saying that. Its the disease.

When you are faced with a loved ones aggression, Hashmi suggests employing these 4 Rs:

  • Reassure. It can be difficult to do in the moment, but start by reassuring your loved one. For example, Hashmi suggests you might say something like, Im here for you. Im still here for you. Its OK.
  • Reorient. If they are disoriented, reorient them to their environment and with a familiar object. Say, Look, were at home. Heres a picture we have.
  • Redirect. Redirect your senior toward a familiar object, anything that gives them joy and comfort. It may be family photos, it may be a keepsake, it may be something that has great meaning and value to them, Hashmi says. It helps redirect and also helps reorient them.
  • Reminisce. Help them connect to a long-term memory. E.g., Remember when Joe was born?
  • When theyre feeling calmer, Hashmi says, you can try asking yes/no questions to help determine whether an unmet need is causing the behavior. Ask: Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you in pain? Are you tired?

    Do You Get Lost In Familiar Places

    Losing the way while driving, walking or taking public transportation to a new place is normal. So is getting so absorbed in your journey that you have to reorient yourself to figure out exactly where you are.

    Whats not: Driving or walking for a long time without realizing youre lost or completely forgetting where you are, and not asking for help in these situation could be a sign of dementia, Yasar says. You may also forget how you got to a new location, become easily disoriented in familiar places, or lose the ability to read a map or follow landmarks and traffic signs.

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    Use Post Notes And Signs Everywhere In The House

    For some seniors with memory problems, posting signs and notes up are very helpful. Its important to know that if memory loss continues to get worse, they may be able to READ what they see but they will lose the ability to COMPREHEND and/or REMEMBER what they just read. This is very important especially when it comes to taking medication.

    In the rehab hospitals I worked in, many doctors would often tell me the patient was good to go home and live independently because the doctor asked them to read their prescription instructions and they were able to do so. But I would often counterpoint by asking the patient to again read the instructions on the pill bottle and then tell me what those instructions meant. Gotta say, that 9/10 times they werent able to do so because although they could read the words they were not able to comprehend them and/or recall what they had just read.

    But if notes DO work for you or your senior loved one, then the types of notes you could post up would be things like

    • Turn off the stove.
    • Keys are in the laundry room.
    • Phone numbers .
    • Take your medicine at 10:00 am.

    If you are concerned that the memory disorder is becoming a risk factor and living alone is no longer an option I would recommend to consider an Assisted Living facility or Home Care services.

    Incorporate Memory Sharp Foods Into The Diet

    How to Talk to Someone With Dementia

    The following fruits contain plenty of antioxidants, which can lessen the brains inflammation and stress and improve brain function, which in turn may prevent seniors from getting Alzheimers. These fruits are:

    • Mulberries
    • Strawberries
    • Avocados

    Dont stop with just the above fruits! The following edible eats contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that could heal damaged brain cells and even create new ones.

    Here are the foods to incorporate into a senior diet to help decrease cognitive decline:

    Source: MedicalNewsToday

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