Memory Loss, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?
Forgetfulness and memory loss may be a normal part of aging. As we age, all parts of the body change, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things or their memory is not as good as before.
Today, we’re looking at some memory-related topics to give you a better understanding of what to expect with memory and aging.
How does memory change with age?
As you age, physiological changes occur that may cause problems in your normal brain functions. These are functions that most of us simply take for granted without a second thought. When functional issues arise, it might take you longer to learn and recall information; or you may not be as fast as you once were.
As such, you might mistake these slowing mental processes as being actual memory loss. Fortunately, many of these functions return if you give yourself time. Therefore, certain brain changes are inevitable during aging. However, memory problems are not one of them.
This is why it is important to understand the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and symptoms that may indicate cognitive problems.
How can I help my elderly with memory loss?
The best way to approach someone who suffers from memory loss is to do so as you would a child. What does this mean? Essentially, it means using simple language while maintaining an encouraging tone. As such, you want to exhibit positive expressions, make eye contact, and use open gestures.
And above all else, it means employing a lot of patience. Let’s look at some keep tips you can exercise to help older adults with memory loss.
Mind Your Tone
Even if it’s difficult to see that your loved one’s cognitive abilities are declining, you should try to be optimistic when talking to them. People with dementia may not understand everything you say or ask, but they will definitely notice your emotions and expressions.
For example, if you look anxious, worried, or upset, they too will become anxious or upset. Therefore, speak positively with an uplifting tone. Be sure to smile and let yourself be optimistic about them. Try using gentle language and loving gestures.
Use Short Sentences and Words
You don’t need to yell or speak in an overly simple way. But you should speak slowly, clearly, and evenly while using simple words. Try using one- and two-syllable words to express what you’re trying to say.
Lowering the natural pitch of your voice can also help to get the attention of your loved one. Just remember that if your loved one needs you to repeat what you said many times, don’t let it frustrate you.
Even after implementing these tips into your vernacular they still don’t understand you, go to the next step. You can always try these techniques again at a later time.
Choose a Quiet Setting
You should try to limit background noise as much as possible. If your children are running around and making noise, ask them to play in another room and play as quietly as they can. Turn off the TV or anything else that could serve as a distraction.
Moreover, if your relative lives in a memory care home or nursing home, close the door during your visit to reduce noise from within the facility. Then, use simple techniques to get the attention of your loved one and try to maintain your communication.
Also, be sure to call your senior by their name. If he or she doesn’t remember your name, don’t be angry; simply identify who you are and move on. Remember to make eye contact, too, as it is very important in communicating with someone suffering from memory loss.
Light, gentle touches on their shoulders, arms, and hands also help to establish a line of communication.
Use Names as Much as Possible
And speaking of using their name during your social interaction, the same goes for family and friends when discussing them. Whenever possible, use direct names (pronouns) rather than nouns like “he” or “she”, “him” or “her.”
Memory senior care is a challenging venture. But using proper names is a big step in overcoming cognitive decline. That’s because the use of these names helps to trigger memories in loved ones whose brain function isn’t what it used to be.
What’s more, names are more familiar compared to simple nouns. You may find that speaking clearly with proper names triggers a stimulating response. Give it a try, and be sure to maintain this method in your conversations moving forward.
4 Ways to Improve Memory for Seniors
Rejuvenating brain function is a challenging proposition. But there are some helpful tips to keep your brain sharp and your thinking healthy. Consider each method a mental exercise that you can employ to improve your mental health.
The good news is that you can implement these tips in an attempt to help seniors suffering from memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Try to limit distractions and don’t attempt to take on too much at once. If you focus on the information you are trying to keep, you are more likely to recall it at a later time when you need it.
Keep Brain Functions Active
Just as physical activity helps keep the body healthy, mental stimulation activities help keep the brain healthy and may prevent memory loss. Do crossword puzzles, play bridge, or take up playing a musical instrument, for example.
Stay Physically Active
Just as important is physical activity, which increases blood flow to the whole body, including the brain. This may help maintain your memory and keep your mental health sharp.
Social interaction helps fight depression and stress, both of which can lead to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with relatives and friends. This is especially important if your elder lives alone.
If you have questions regarding what services Mary T offers for patients with memory loss, contact us today. We’ll do our best to provide more information and figure out the best plan for you or your loved one.