8 Tips to Help a Memory Challenged Loved One

If a loved one has been diagnosed with a memory problem such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time taking care of them in the beginning. Taking care of a loved one that has memory problems can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do to help a memory challenged loved one.

Educate yourself about their condition.

Different memory problems can affect people at different stages of their lives. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that involves noticeable memory loss, but it doesn’t interfere with the patient’s daily life. Dementia, on the other hand, can make it difficult for someone to do daily activities. It’s important to understand the different conditions, how they affect people and what you can do to help your loved one.

Don’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition.

Studies show proper nutrition can affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Limiting the amount of refined sugar someone with a memory problem has, and increasing the amount of vegetables they eat, can make it easier to manage behavior problems in people with memory problems.

Develop predictable routines and schedules.

As their memory problems worsen, it’s important for older adults to have predictable routines and schedules. This can help reduce or eliminate any confusion. If family members share responsibility for caring for the loved one, make sure they all understand and follow the schedules and routines. If the loved one has to go into a care home, make sure the staff understands the routines and schedules you’ve established for them.

Don’t argue.

Bickering with them about things they’ve forgotten will only upset them and add to your frustration. Gently remind them about memories they may have forgotten and then let it go.

Don’t do everything for them.

It can be tempting to do everything them, but it’s important to let them do as many things as they possibly can. You may need to start the activity to remind them how to do it, but let them do as much of it themselves as they can.

Have fun.

Just because someone has a memory problem, doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. They can still enjoy going to the museum, parks, or zoos.

Keep a list of medications and dosages handy.

This way, you’ll always know when they need to take their medication. Share that information with doctors and others who might take care of the patient.

Make time for physical exercise every day.

It’s important for people with memory problems to exercise their bodies as well as their minds. Plan time for it each day.

We hope these tips help make it easier to help your memory challenged family member. When taking care of them, remember that being diagnosed with a memory problem like Alzheimer’s or MCI is not a death sentence. Many people with memory problems live for 20 years or more after their diagnosis. Follow the suggestions provided here, and consult their physician for any other suggestions, and both your lives will be a lot simpler.