Growing older has many upsides: you no longer have to work long hours. You have lived life and learned life lessons, so a certain level of wisdom has been gained. Plus, now that the kids are grown, it’s much easier to sit back and enjoy grandchildren and great grandchildren!
A painful reality of growing older for many, however, is memory loss. For the person experiencing it, it can be confusing, frustrating, and even terrifying. For the families, watching a loved one struggle can be scary and heartbreaking. While it can take on different forms and exist to different extents, those who struggle can find comfort with some simple steps that may make things a little bit easier.
1) Shared Experiences
Experts and family members alike say that one frustrating aspect of trying to help a family member experiencing this is the inability to know what to talk about. Family members who try to re-tell family stories may frustrate and confuse their loved one, which in turn leaves the family member unsure of what to say. Rather than watch communication completely break down, some programs offer a solution. A prominent community art institution, for example, offers a program where caregivers and those struggling with diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can visit the galleries for free, experience a piece of art together, and then use given prompts to discuss it. Program organizers say this gives a loved one and their caregiver a shared experience to discuss that doesn’t involve long-term memory. This allows the two to interact without frustration.
2) 24-7 Care
Family members often worry about their loved one becoming confused and wandering away from home. The loved one in turn can find this “hovering” condescending and suffocating. A good solution to meet everyone’s need might be a residential memory care facility in National City. Most such facilities offer specially trained staff and up-to-the-minute technology to ensure that one’s loved one is safe and enjoying life without being hovered over.
3) Underwhelming Environment
Such facilities cite the importance of what might seem to be an underwhelming living environment. Experts say that this is actually crucial, as dementia can make a regular home environment with multiple colors, clutter of memorabilia and artwork, and multiple rooms with varying décor feel completely overwhelming. Simplifying the loved one’s living environment can make moments of confusion a bit more bearable.
It’s very important for family members and caregivers to remember to be patient. Keep in mind that it is just as confusing, overwhelming, and frightening for the one who is experiencing it firsthand. With patient love and support, families can ease these stresses and come out of it all closer than ever.