Memory Care for Your Loved One

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Everyone suffers some memory loss as they age. It isn’t clear that there is a way to avoid it, but there are some things you or an elder in your care can do to reduce or delay the onset of symptoms.

Exercise the Brain

People who stay mentally active tend to avoid memory problems for longer. Encourage your loved one to learn new things, even if it takes longer than it used to. Playing games with friends, working puzzles like crosswords, and volunteering are also good ways to stay mentally active.

Keep Friends Close

Make sure your loved one has opportunities to get out and see people. Visiting with friends and family reduces stress and depression, both of which can affect memory and cognitive ability.

Exercise the Body, Too

Doctors know that exercise leads to increased blood flow to the brain, helping it to stay healthy. It’s also important for your loved one to eat a healthy diet and watch their cholesterol and blood pressure, as problems with these may contribute to Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.

Listen to the Doctor

Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease can contribute to memory loss or confusion; so can alcohol abuse and smoking. Make sure your elderly loved one sees their doctor regularly and take their medications—but remember that some medications may cause (reversible) memory loss.

Don’t worry too much about memory loss unless it interferes with daily activities. The best way to cope with normal age-related memory loss is to develop consistent habits and routines. Help your loved one to use day planners, lists, calendars, and sticky notes as reminders. They should say things they want to remember out loud, repeatedly if possible. Another important strategy is to reduce stress and get enough sleep. All people need quiet time to process and store memories.

 

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