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Tips for Building Connections When Memory Begins to Fade

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on January 23, 2015

Memory loss is difficult not only for the senior who is experiencing it, but also family members who witness their senior loved one’s memory slipping. Although it can be a challenge, it is still possible to build meaningful connections with loved ones who are experiencing memory loss. Here are a few tips from the Phoenix home care experts at Home Care Assistance.

Show your senior loved one where they fit in.

Continue to share stories with your loved one and show them pictures that illustrate where they fit into those stories. Seeing pictures featuring people and places helps them feel connected and remember who is who in the family. Older pictures might also help them retain those deep-seated memories.

Refresh your own memory.

We all lose details of people, places, and events as we get older. In order to share favorite tales with your loved one, refresh your own memory about important facts. Talk to others who were around during a memorable time and get their perspective on what happened in order to share a more detailed story with your senior loved one. You could even write out longer stories and read them regularly to your loved one.

Write notes.

Sharing memories via a neatly written or typed note gives your elderly loved one something to read and re-read whenever he or she wants. Yes, the information may be quickly forgotten but if your loved one still has the capacity to read on his or her own, great memories or sentimental thoughts can be shared over and over again. Notes can also be a sweet sentiment if he or she is having an off day.

Create new memories.

If your loved one is still mobile, a trip to the ice cream shop, park, or mall will give you something to talk and reminisce about later. The outing can make for a meaningful conversation in the days immediately following, and also provide instant conversation topics while out. Make it a regular outing to help your senior loved one familiarize the routine and associate you with the activity.

Establish a new norm.

Since memory loss is an irreversible condition, it is important to understand that this is how things will be. It’s normal to become frustrated when someone cannot remember certain details, but seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia are still sensitive to negative emotions so take time for yourself, be patient, and establish a new relationship. Focus on creating new traditions, and finding different ways to spend time together.

If your senior loved one is living at home alone and is beginning to show signs of memory loss, Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are compassionate, highly trained, and available 24/7. We also provide dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Phoenix who are trained in our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutic Method, designed to slow cognitive decline and preserve mental acuity. For more information, call (602) 388-1085 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule your free in-home consultation.