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Aging with Dignity: Cognitive Health: What You Need to Know

When your family member starts to experience cognitive impairments, it can be scary and stressful to know how to react and care for them in an effective way.

Here are some tips to handle this type of situation.

“When a loved one shows signs of forgetfulness, if they aren’t making sense as they used to, or they are neglecting their own care, it can be hard for that person or the family to accept they are suffering from a memory impairment illness,” according to the video. “Usually, the person suffering is the last to know and it can be hard on other family members to understand what’s happening and react appropriately. The illness directly affects one person and indirectly affects many people.”

Be sensitive:

While memory changes can be challenging to deal with in another, they are extremely confusing and frightening for the individual experiencing them.

Before intervening, allow the person with memory issues the chance to “breathe and make mistakes, especially when topics such as anxiety, depression or confusion come into play” according to the video. “Remember that not every person is in touch with their emotions.”

Learn how to adapt:

Try to understand the illness or problems as well as new patterns in your loved one’s behaviors so you can adapt and learn how to best deal with the situation.

Find new ways to communicate with your loved one, don’t just correct him or her and try to retain your previous methods.

Seek professional help:

After your family member is diagnosed, you should explore different care options, including home care and community care.

Speak with people about different services and communities and ask questions about the level of care an organization or business will provide. Be sure to weigh all aspects including services, costs, procedures, staff, etc.

Plan ahead:

Many memory impaired people cannot express their needs or wishes anymore, so it’s always best to plan ahead and have these things documented to eliminate miscommunication and ensure the loved one is still heard.

Maintain respect:

Always remember, even though a person with memory issues may act differently than they used to, they are still a person.

Treat your loved one with dignity, respect and a thoughtful approach, and you will have more successful interactions.

Visit the Neponset River Regional Chamber website for resources that can help in these situations.

Whitney Place Assisted Living and Memory Care at Sharon, a SALMON Health and Retirement community, is a member of the Neponset River Regional Chamber of Commerce and Elder Care Alliance.

SALMON Health and Retirement