Reviewed by Kandace Rudd, Esq.
Is a parent or another loved one experiencing memory loss? It can be tough to cope for both your loved one and for you. Do you feel like you may be trading roles with someone who was once teaching you and reminding you to do your homework and call your grandmother on her birthday? It can be important to know what to expect and manage the situation to the best of your ability. Let us take a look at five tips on helping a loved one deal with memory loss.
- Let Go of “Should:” Try not to think about what your loved one “should” be able to recall when struggling to remember. Even if a particular memory may be incredibly important to you both, it may not make a difference as to whether it is remembered. Nature does not discriminate on this basis. Instead, focus on what your loved one can remember, even if it is not necessarily what you think is most important.
- Tell Stories: If you may be disappointed that your loved one cannot remember a treasured family vacation, tell the story about it from your own perspective. Your loved one will probably enjoy hearing about it, even if he or she does not remember participating. It can be a good way to remind your loved one about the names and interests of other relatives and friends and help piece together fragments that your loved one may be able to recall.
- Be Sensitive: Your loved one may be embarrassed when unable to remember something that should be simple. Be kind when this occurs and try not to make your loved one feel worse about mistakes and slips of memory. If it is something small, let it go. If it is important, gently try to correct your loved one.
- Celebrate Small Victories: When your loved one is able to remember something important, praise him or her!
- Confirm Estate Planning: Check in with your loved one to see if he or she has an estate plan in place. If your loved one already has one, encourage a review of it and make any necessary changes. If there is no estate plan in place, help locate an elder law attorney, who can create one. Doing this now can give everyone peace of mind later on.
If you have a loved one struggling with memory loss, our elder law attorneys are happy to provide legal services or connect you with resources. Contact one of our members today for more information.