How to Talk About Memory Loss and Home Care
Many blogs talk about the experience of caring for a loved one with a degenerative neurological disease (more commonly known as “dementia”). Some of these blogs even suggest what symptoms should prompt your loved one’s visit to a doctor. But what does not get addressed as often is: How should you talk to your loved one about their symptoms if you suspect they have a neurological disease? In other words, how should you bring the problem to their attention?
Not everyone likes being told they have a problem. Some individuals suffering from memory loss may be very resistant to going to the doctor. The first thing to do would be to observe very carefully what the problems might be. Memory loss may not be the result of a degenerative neurological disease.
Things That Contribute to Memory Loss
Many things contribute to memory loss. It may be the result of depression, poor diet, nutrient deficiency, a reaction to medicine, head injuries, blood clots, alcohol abuse, or problems with the kidney, liver, or thyroid. If the problem is just memory loss, then you cannot conclusively know the full picture until a medical assessment is done. If you observe that your loved one is experiencing memory loss, then you may try suggesting politely a doctor’s visit to see what the problem could be. The problem may be completely reversible with recommendations from a physician. If the symptoms are more complex and if memory loss is coupled with other symptoms like language, behavior, muscular, or emotional irregularities, then the situation becomes more complicated.
Talking to Someone With Memory Loss – Talking Tips
There may be no simple suggestion to approach a loved one if you think they need medical attention. Every family and relationship contains its unique histories which alter how two or more parties interact with and react to each other. Just remember to allow your loved one control over his or her situation. Try not to demand that they should do anything unless they want to do it. If you need to recommend a doctor’s visit, construct a question or suggestion that leaves your loved one a choice to make and allows them to reflect on the circumstances (assuming he or she has the capacity to do so). Instead of demanding that they go to the doctor, try explaining to them the symptoms you have noticed and ask if they think some form of evaluation is appropriate. You may even affirm (and reaffirm) that you will help them through the process and that they will not be alone. Additionally, if you think your loved one may be more receptive to another party, like a close friend or relative, then try reaching out to them and ask if they can talk to your loved one about seeing a doctor.
Sometimes, the person with memory loss might be benefit from having someone come into the home to help them with the things they may be finding more difficult to do. To begin the conversation, it may help to think about how you frame the type of care your loved one may need. Instead of connecting home care to their medical condition, you could try suggesting that only need some simple help around the house. Of course this aid may come from a nurse registry like ElderCare at Home, but, after consistent visits from a caregiver, your loved one may start to change their opinion about needing help. A good caregiver can make all the difference.
If you find yourself needing a caregiver for your loved one, then please visit ElderCare at Home’s website for more information or call 561-585-0400.