Caregiving presents countless challenges, and when your loved one suffers from dementia or another illness that causes memory loss, these challenges often increase as your loved one loses capacity to function.
Managing the frustration that can build when your loved one doesn’t remember conversations, events, or how to do tasks takes some adjustment. Here are tips and suggestions for caregivers dealing with the issues around memory loss:
If memory loss is a recent development in your loved one’s illness, find the time to educate yourself about it. Understanding that memory loss is a symptom and that repeated questions are an early sign of cognitive impairment can be helpful when it comes to alleviating your frustration. The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent resource for learning more about dementia.
Develop strategies to deal with your loved one’s questions. These will vary depending on each person, and you’ll need to pay attention to the possible motivations behind the questions. Is your mom looking for reassurance? If so, write the answer down on a card to remind her that she already has the answer; after a few reminders, she may learn to look at the card before asking you again. If your very outgoing father asks questions all the time because he needs interaction or wants to talk to someone, find social outlets where he can engage with people.
Communicate with others and tap into a supportive network. Your loved one’s physician can be a source of help both for information about memory loss and for coping strategies. Support groups for caregivers are also an excellent source of tools to manage the condition as it progresses.
Perhaps the biggest and most effective way to manage the frustration: Nourish and nurture yourself. Getting enough sleep and getting the time you need to attend to your own needs can work wonders when it comes to easing your frustration.