In some cases, memory loss is just a part of aging, and we forget things now and again. Other times, Alzheimer’s and dementia ravage our minds. Whatever the cause or severity, some things can help someone who has memory loss.
It doesn’t always have to be a professional who helps someone with memory loss—although there are special memory care homes for severe cases of memory loss.
Causes of Memory Loss
Memory loss doesn’t happen randomly. There are many different causes; some may even be surprising to you.
- Injury: There’s a reason that wearing a helmet is recommended and required by law in most places. Head injuries are a significant cause of memory loss. And if the injury is severe enough, memory loss is of the least concern.
- Smoking: Your brain needs oxygen, and smoking causes your body to circulate less oxygen. Over time this oxygen deprivation can affect memory.
- Medicine: There are many medicines out there that list memory loss as a possible side effect. If you have a medication causing this, then talking to your doctor about alternatives is a good idea.
- Lack of sleep: You need enough sleep and good enough sleep; it’s just the way our bodies are wired. It can be difficult to get the right amount in today’s world, but it’s so important.
- Emotional Problems: Depression or excessive stress in our lives can also cause issues with our memory. On the other hand, so can some of the medications used to treat those conditions. So, it’s important to discuss these things with your doctor to find the right balance.
- Dementia: This is a leading cause of memory loss as we age. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes of dementia.
Understanding Memory Loss
Memory loss isn’t really something that we can predict. If someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we know that the memory loss will get worse. But if someone is depressed, we may not notice that, but they might suddenly have trouble remembering seemingly simple things.
This is why understanding the different causes of memory loss and how we can help someone who is struggling with it are so important. By knowing what to expect, we can provide better care.
Ways to Help Someone With Memory Loss
No single way is the only way to help someone with memory loss. Because there are a variety of causes and severities, all you can do is apply the strategies and tips that you find beneficial in your situation.
- Flexibility and Patience: No matter the cause and how severe the memory loss is, these are the two most important characteristics you’ll need to employ when helping your loved one.
- Make Remembering Easy: If there are specific things your loved one is struggling to remember, there are ways to make memory easier. Repeat new ideas often to help engrain the memory or break down new things into smaller, easier steps.
- Keep Questions to a Minimum: Try and lead the conversation without adding questions. For example, instead of saying, “This is John. Do you remember him?” try saying, “Your nephew John is here to visit you.” In addition to helping them remember, this also helps relieve the stress of not being able to answer your questions.
- Routine. Routine. Routine: When there is a solid routine in place, someone struggling with memory loss will have an easier time remembering what happens next. Sometimes, having visual indicators like a daily planner helps as well.
- Don’t Do it Alone: Dealing with memory loss isn’t easy. It can even be difficult at times for someone trained to deal with memory loss patients. So, don’t try and do it alone. Ask friends and family for help. Some people and organizations provide those services if family isn’t an option.
It’s important to keep in mind that people struggling with memory loss often know they are—especially in earlier, more mild stages. As it progresses, this can add a lot of stress and guilt to their plate over something they can’t control.
Above all, we must treat someone struggling with memory loss with respect and love. They don’t want to feel like a burden.
Still Wondering How You Can Support Your Loved Ones?
Memory loss is quite possibly one of the most difficult things to deal with when it’s our loved ones. If you’re struggling, there is help out there. Reach out to us today, and one of our compassionate team members will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
You don’t have to do this alone.