When age-related memory problems appear, it can be a challenging time for you and your loved one. Finding the right community for them is a good start, especially if they can benefit from a memory care lifestyle.
Let’s look at what can cause memory problems as you age, some things you can do for seniors with memory problems, and how to interact with and help them.
What Can Cause Memory Problems?
Age-related memory problems can be an inevitable part of aging. They can stem from cognitive challenges such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions can be complicated to deal with and manage.
While these cognitive challenges can appear with age, it’s important to note that many older adults can go their entire lives without developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Normal forgetfulness is a part of aging and not necessarily a sign of something like dementia.
Some memory lapses that are normal among seniors include:
- Occasionally forgetting where you left things you regularly use, like glasses or keys.
- Trouble recalling names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one.
- Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you went there.
- Becoming easily distracted or having trouble remembering something you’ve just read.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease signify a more concerning change, and exploring them further can help provide some insight.
Dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections to the brain.
Some common cognitive signs and symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating or finding words
- Struggling with visual and spatial abilities
- Having trouble with planning and organizing
- Confusion and disorientation
Some psychological changes include:
- Personality changes
Dementia can severely limit the quality of life of your loved ones and has to be monitored and managed.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die. The early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include forgetting recent events or conversations. As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one will develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to tackle everyday tasks.
Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Memory loss affecting daily activities
- Trouble with familiar tasks
- Issues with speech and writing
- Decreased personal hygiene
- Mood and personality changes
- Lack of appetite
Alzheimer’s disease spans several years, and usually, your loved one will go through 7 stages. These 7 stages occur slowly and over a long period. Managing Alzheimer’s disease is all about seeking out the proper care and best environment for your loved one.
Dealing with cognitive challenges requires a personalized approach that a memory care community can provide.
Helping Seniors with Memory Problems
When your loved ones are dealing with memory problems, there are things you can do to help to make it easier on them and keep their minds stimulated.
Introduce Physical Activity
Physical activity increases blood flow in your body and can contribute to keeping your memory sharp. Introducing a physical activity routine to your loved ones can help them develop a schedule and promote overall health and wellness.
Depending on your loved one’s capabilities, it can be as much as brisk walking and aerobic activity to maintain their routine.
Help Them Stay Mentally Active
As physical activity is important for your body health, staying mentally active is essential to keeping your brain in shape.
Playing games that utilize your brain, like crossword puzzles, sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and chess, can keep you sharp and encourage daily cognitive use. Learning new instruments or volunteering can also promote healthy cognitive function and keep your loved one’s mind stimulated.
Encourage Social Interaction
Memory problems are already challenging to deal with, and a lack of social interaction can contribute to depression and stress. Encourage your loved one to get out and about in their community and if they live in a memory care community, make time to visit them and spend time together.
Embrace a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can just help you feel great and may be as good for your brain as it is for your heart.
Encouraging your loved ones to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep their brains healthy and bodies strong. Low-fat protein sources such as fish, beans, and skinless poultry are also a great option to mix it up and keep their diet interesting.
These are just some options that can help seniors deal with memory problems, but with cognitive challenges like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, memory care is the best option.
When your loved one is dealing with memory problems, the best thing you can do is provide your support. Encouraging them to socialize and keep their body and mind active can make a big difference. Memory care is a great option when cognitive challenges enter the picture. Schedule a visit with professionals to learn more about memory care and if it’s the right lifestyle for your loved one.