Tips for dealing with memory loss
Senior Health > Tips for dealing with memory loss
Most medical providers agree that some short-term memory loss is a normal part of aging. Even elderly people who can remember what color their prom dress was 50 years ago may not be able to remember the same of the new neighbor across the street. Most providers believe these types of inconvenient and possibly embarrassing problems with memory loss are normal and should not alarm family members. Forgetting very important information, however, such as one’s name or address, can be a sign of a more serious problem. Seniors or their loved ones who notice these problems should begin to prepare for a future with memory loss.
First, seniors should carry a card in their purses or wallets to tell them their vitals – name, phone number, and address. Elderly people also should consider carrying medical identification tags, particularly for diseases like diabetes that a medical provider will need to know in an emergency. It would be a good idea for seniors also to have an emergency contact card. This card may just have a name (even just a first name) and phone number for safety purposes instead of carrying around one’s full name and contact information.
Besides carrying this vital information, family and friends should try to keep close tabs on their elderly loved ones by helping them keep track of doctors’ appointments, church engagements, and other functions. Knowing the schedule of an elderly parent will help if that person becomes lost. Someone who is concerned about severe memory loss may want to consider calling at consistent intervals throughout the day to make sure the person is available.
Finally, family members should not be afraid to take the reins from reluctant seniors. Even though mom may think she can still cook, if she frequently forgets pots on the stove, the children should take charge and unplug it, helping her find ways to cook in the microwave or safer appliances. Some seniors resist this type of intrusion, particularly if they have always been independent, but it will be better in the long run to deal with an angry mom than one who accidentally burned her home down.