Age-related memory loss is scary enough without receiving a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's. If your parents have memory issues related to any of the above, there are several ways to help keep them oriented to the present and keep their minds sharp. These ways or approaches are especially important if your parents will be moved to a nursing home or assisted living facility where they might not get enough daily interaction unless you request it of the staff.
Exercise, even walking around the block or the exterior of the nursing home when weather permits, helps increase blood flow to the brain. Increased blood flow equals increased oxygen and special mood-altering neurotransmitters, both of which play an important part in slowing the degeneration process of brain cells. If one or both of your parents is already in a wheelchair, they can still participate in exercises designed for patients who have limited mobility in their legs. Also, nursing staff have special walkers and gait belts to help patients get out of their wheelchairs and move around a little (just be sure that a physical therapist and the doctor okays this activity for your parents).
Phone Conversations at Exactly the Same Times on Exactly the Same Days Every Week
Talking with your parents often and on a schedule helps keep them oriented to date, time, place, day of the week and help them remember what they did that day. Additionally, it keeps them connected to people who generally represent happy moments to them, and that engages another area of the brain than sitting idly alone or talking to strangers. If you get into the habit of taking your parents out for a meal one or two nights a week too, then keep that schedule because that also helps with memory function and the preservation of brain cells.
Every time you dye your hair, lose weight, gain weight or the kids get a little taller, your parents should be equipped with a new photo. As kids grow and change in appearance, and even as you change your own appearance, it can become quite confusing for elderly parents whose brains recall you looking very different. The confusion can lead to frustration, anger and even hostility or volatility, something which can be easily prevented with updated and timely photos of all family members (preferably framed and labeled so that your parents can reorient themselves to memories of family when you are not present).
27 March 2016
Are you planning a surgery that requires extended care beyond the hospital? Do you know who will be providing the care for you as you recover? My mother recently had a total knee replacement surgery and we had to scurry to find the nursing home that would provide her the care during the weeks after the surgery. We had never looked into nursing homes prior to this, and had no idea what we had to consider. It took a little while for me to learn what I needed to know to help her choose the care facility that could help rehabilitate her during those awful weeks. Visit my website to learn what I had found to be most helpful when choosing the care home for my mother.