In the first part of our series, we covered how to decrease the physical behaviors of those with memory loss. We learned ways to effectively manage and limit physical behaviors, but what about the cognitive behaviors of those with memory loss? Is there any way that caregivers can help to decrease or manage the negative effects memory loss can have on their loved one? While memory loss may be incurable, there are some things caregivers can do in order to at least manage some of the cognitive behaviors their loved one faces.
According to DeeAnne Helton, Executive Director, at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA, when loved ones are diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to accept that changes that may occur in the future. “Right now, your loved one may be in the beginning stages of memory loss,” says DeeAnne. “During the beginning stages, you may not realize much of a change. Your loved one may be able to do everything they once did, but may have trouble with remembering names, coming up with the right words to use or have increased difficulty performing or remembering certain tasks. As time goes on, you may notice that they begin to forget important things, become more confused or have decreased cognitive abilities. While memory loss can take years to progress, it’s important to find ways to help your loved one engage and use their current cognitive abilities in order to help them live full lives.
How To Manage Cognitive Behaviors in Seniors with Memory Loss
As memory loss progresses, many different cognitive behaviors can show up. According to the Alzheimer’s Association® some of these behaviors can include forgetfulness, confusion, repetition, suspicion and wandering. In order to decrease the psychological effects of memory loss, it can help to try to manage these symptoms by distraction or trying to engage the brain in a fun way. Try some of the following ways to decrease your loved one’s cognitive behaviors.
- Be smart about repetitive behaviors. Notice if they are repeating themselves or if they make repetitive motions. Does this occur in certain places, at a specific time or around the same person. Try to put pieces together to see if they are agitated, bored or uncomfortable.
- Turn their behavior into an activity. If they are repeatedly trying to wipe something, ask them to help clean. If they like to put things in certain spots, allow them to clean up a room. If your loved one keeps going into the kitchen or opening cupboards, ask them to get you certain ingredients out so you can make something together.
- Wander wisely. If your loved one is prone to wandering, start taking walks together. Let them lead the way, as this can give some insightful clues into where your loved one would go if they wander off. Talk along the way to see why they may want to walk to where you are going. Did they once walk children to school? Did they walk to work? Try to find the reason they want to wander to this place and make a routine out of visiting.
- Play games or do puzzles. Playing familiar games that your loved one used to enjoy can help to both stimulate their brain and provide them with enjoyment. Doing puzzles and playing different games can also help to distract them from the different behaviors they are facing. Be sure to adapt games where needed in order to make them either easier to understand or more enjoyable for your loved one.
- Go through old photo albums. If your loved one is having a particularly rough day, it can help to have them go through old photo albums. Ask them questions about pictures if they seem to light up at one and listen as they talk about their past memories and experiences.
- Try using memory aids. If your loved one often forgets dates, buy a calendar to put important dates on. If they forget names, use photographs. These seemingly small tools can actually do a lot to manage your loved one’s cognitive behaviors.
It’s important to be patient and understanding when managing the cognitive behaviors of a loved one with memory loss. Don’t correct or scold them, but be reassuring and try to stay calm. Your loved one has little to no control over their memory loss or their behavior as they reach later stages, so it’s important to do your best to work through their behavior.
Your Valuable Resource for Cognitive Behavior Education and Support
For more help with managing the cognitive behaviors associated with memory loss, call or visit us at CountryHouse. Our experts are here to assist you.
Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.
CountryHouse at Granite Bay is the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.
At CountryHouse, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes to their values and their pasts, in order to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.
With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!
Connect with us today or call us at 916-778-9665 for more information or to schedule a visit.
CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.