Frequent memory problems can be a symptom of dementia
Memory loss can often be one of the first signs of dementia. Everybody forgets things now and again and for this reason lapses in memory can often be overlooked and mistaken for forgetfulness.
Memory loss affects every person differently and quite often it is family and friends who notice the changes first. So how does memory loss affect a person with dementia? As dementia progresses memory loss will get worse. In the early stages a person’s long term memory is less effected so things like forgetting recent conversations and appointments, forgetting words and people’s names, not being able to find their way around familiar surroundings and struggling to do everyday tasks are all common signs. These lapses in memory can lead to a person withdrawing from situations.
To support someone with dementia when this happens encourage the person to talk about how they are feeling and to continue spending time with other people and taking part in daily activities.
If you or the person you are caring for needs help, below are some aids to help with memory loss that could make day-to-day tasks easier.
To-do/reminder lists are a great way to keep track of the things we need to remember. Keeping everything together on one board and displayed in a prominent place will help someone with memory issues to remember the more important things they need to do. And because it is kept on show, a friend, family member or perhaps the GP can also write down important information.
Keeping essential items in view is always best but too much clutter can be confusing for a person with dementia. By labelling drawers and drawing attention to essential items everyday tasks can be made a lot easier.
In our security-conscious world we have to have keys for everything! But the more we have the more confusing they become. Labelling individual keys with pictures and words, key fobs can take the guess work out of finding the right key.
When sleep patterns and daily routines become disturbed because of a dementia, and the times of the day become difficult to distinguish, it’s suddenly quite easy to become confused as to whether it is 5am or 5pm. By using a clock with an analogue face that is easy to read, graphics display which clearly illustrates whether it is day time or night time will help the person know the time of day.
The Patient Cards have been designed to help carers, and people with dementia, explain their condition in social situations to help reduce stressful and awkward situations.
All of the above suggestions are designed to help the person to continue to make decisions and stay involved in everyday life.