How To Help The Aging Loved One In Your Life With Memory Issues
Do you care for a loved one who you suspect may be starting to experience memory problems? You need to be aware that diagnosing memory problems can be difficult. Memory problems can be caused by a myriad of issues, such as depression, thyroid problems, a reaction between medications, dehydration, vitamin deficiency, stroke, infections, and, unfortunately, dementia. We would like to discuss some steps you could take, right now, to help your loved one.
Your first step should be to make an appointment with your loved one’s health care provider. The doctor will probably do a physical exam, and review the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications of your loved one. The doctor may also look at your loved one’s diet, health history, and overall health. There may also be blood tests or brain imaging done.
We recommend that your next step be to make an appointment with a knowledgeable Florida estate planning and elder law attorney to draw up a durable power of attorney. By creating this document now your loved one can decide who will be responsible for his or her finances and well-being when memory loss begins to occur. In fact, the best time to create the durable power of attorney is well in advance of any memory issues.
Now that your loved one has been diagnosed with a memory problem, we would like to share some ideas that may help you in caring for your loved one. Because you are caring for your loved one with memory loss, you can help your loved one keep up his or her confidence, independence, and dignity for as long as possible.
•Routines. Try to keep a regular routine. If there is too much variety and stimulation your loved one may become confused. Keeping your loved one’s routine consistent each day will help your loved one to feel more secure.
•Information. Get a small notebook for your loved one to carry around to write down important information. Keep new information simple and repeat it often. When your loved one is learning a new routine or activity, if possible, break down the new routine or activity into small steps.
• Verbal Cues. Give verbal cues by saying something like, “Mom, your next door neighbor, Louise, is here to visit.”You should also consider telling, not asking. For example, “Lunch is ready, let’s go eat” will be better received than “What do you want to eat for lunch?”
• Patience and Flexibility. Sadly, people with memory loss may no longer be grounded in reality, so you need to be patient and flexible. If your loved one seems afraid, comfort him or her. Distract your loved one with going on a walk or looking at a magazine together. If something on the television is upsetting, your loved one may feel it is real, turn off the television.
• Help. Always ask for help. Caregiving is a full time and intensive task and no one can do it all. Ask for help, and accept help when offered.
We know this topic may raise more questions that it answers and want to help you plan for the future, and the unexpected. Whether you're young and single or a married five-time great grandparent, your voice and wishes need to be known. Worley Elder Law, based in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, focuses on helping you understand your options in designing your Estate Plan or Elder Law needs. Whether it's preventative incapacity planning or establishing your legacy, we will take the time to explain every option and work with you to create a customized plan just as unique as you and your family are. Please do not hesitate to contact us to let us help you.