It can feel overwhelming to see your parent struggle with memory loss, especially when you’re unsure how you can help them. Dementia affects everyone in the family and is a progressive disease that needs understanding, patience, and often the care of a memory care community.
Ten ways to help an elderly parent with memory loss include taking care of their feelings first, keeping visits simple, trying to limit distraction, creating a routine, keeping beloved treasures in sight, helping them with self-care, engaging them with their spirituality, switching up the scenery, creating a schedule of activities, and reading or telling stories.
10 Ways to Help an Elderly Parent with Memory Loss
Take Care of the Their Feelings First
A person with memory loss can only be aware of the present. The best way to deal with that is not to ask about past events. And if they hurt your feelings for not remembering you or something, don’t take it personally. How your parent feels right now is the most important thing to pay attention to. Be present in the moment with them.
Keep Visits Simple
If your parent is in a memory care community, short, regular visits can be helpful. Try not to overwhelm them with too many tasks, activities, or people. Plan for a short walk if they’re mobile, or play a card game and keep it a one-on-one visit.
Try to Limit Distractions
People with memory loss tend to become easily overwhelmed by external stimuli and excess noise in the environment. Try to limit their exposure to crowded environments, too many people in a small space, and loud noises.
Create a Routine
Having a stable environment with a planned routine is essential for the proper care of a loved one with memory loss. To create a routine, take your parent’s strengths, abilities, and interests into consideration.
Create regular times for waking, naps, and bedtime, as well as times for meals, bathing, and dressing. Keep rigorous activities like exercise and walks for times your parent functions best. Also, plan for regular quiet times and social occasions.
Keep Beloved Treasures in Sight
Keep beloved objects and photographs around the home to help your parent feel more secure. Being able to see and touch the items may help trigger memories and give them a sense of home or belonging.
You can also make scrapbooks to help them remember visits and other fond memories. Keep a camera handy to catch special memories in the moment.
Help with Self-Care
Those with memory loss may neglect important aspects of self-care, like grooming or tidying up. Helping your parent with self-care can be a bonding activity while also helping to improve their quality of life.
Engage with Music
Music can help improve quality of life and mood. Put on some tunes and engage them in dancing and urge them to sing along or tap a foot to the beat. Music may be a great way to connect with the one you love.
Switch up the Scenery
If you realize your loved one is getting agitated or frustrated, change the scenery. Get up and move to a different room or go outside and sit at a nearby bench. Take them for a walk and change the conversation topic to help improve their mood.
Create a Schedule of Varied Activities
Consider activities that can help your parent stay active and physically fit, and be sure to match the activity to what they can do. Help get an activity started, as many people with memory loss may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities for themselves.
Some fun things you can do together can include:
- Household chores
- Light aerobics
- Lawn bowling
Read or Tell Stories
George R.R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
Give your parent that gift of reading. They may not remember the whole story, but reading has been shown to help preserve memory. Reading stimulates the brain, and it can be soothing to listen to someone tell you a story.
Support for Those with Memory Loss
You may not know where to turn for support with memory loss, but we can help.
If your family is looking for a memory care community for a parent with memory loss, contact our friendly and compassionate team at Fox Trail Memory Care in South River, NJ, to schedule a tour of our memory care community today.