During early dementia, your loved one begins to lose his short-term memory and has difficulty remembering recent events and information.
Coping with Short-term Memory Loss Symptoms
Dealing with your loved one’s short-term memory loss symptoms requires a great deal of patience, but with a little ingenuity, you can help her overcome some of her forgetfulness. Consider trying some of the following memory-boosting strategies:
- Buy a basket or a dish to hold her glasses, keys, wallet, etc., so she will always know where to find them.
- Encourage her to carry a notepad with her at all times so she can write down important things she needs to remember.
- Encourage her to wear a digital watch that also displays the correct date.
- Set up her bill payments, so they will be paid automatically.
- Try to maintain a routine of daily tasks and events so they become familiar habits for her.
- Try to persuade her to focus on just one task at a time so she will not be so easily overwhelmed.
- Write down important appointments and events in a day planner, on a calendar or on multiple sticky notes. Alternately, you can try all three methods. Keep these in a place she will see them often.
- Write down important phone numbers and keep them by the phone for easy access.
Even though your loved one needs help to overcome her short-term memory loss symptoms, try to give her as much independence and control over her life as possible while she is still able to manage some things on her own.
Long-term Dementia Memory Loss
As your loved one progresses into the mid and late dementia stages, he loses his short-term memory and with it, his awareness of the present. Instead, he believes he is living during a time in his past. Trying to convince your loved one that he is not living in the past will only upset and confuse him. Although this may be very troubling for you, try to remember that your loved one isn’t “crazy;” he’s simply reliving real memories from his past.
Ask him questions about himself and his life and relive his memories with him. You may find that doing so is beneficial for you as well, because it gives you an opportunity to remember who your loved one was before his dementia memory loss claimed his mind.
Alzheimer’s Society. (U.K.). (2011). How can I help my memory. Retrieved January 11, 2011, from http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=871
Hill, C. & Reiss, N. (2008). Communication tips for dementia caregivers. Retrieved January 11, 2011, from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=15343&cn=231
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2001). Coping with memory loss. Retrieved January 11, 2011, from http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm107783.htm