How to Talk to Your Parent About Memory Loss

How to Talk to Your Parent About Memory Loss

How to Talk to Your Parent About Memory Loss

As your mother or father age, you might start noticing that their memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Many times, difficulty with memory is a normal part of aging. But, if your parent’s memory loss becomes noticeably worse, then this could be a sign of a degenerative neurological disorder like Alzheimer’s

People who are suffering from memory loss usually become good at compensating for it or covering it up in social situations. Your parent may also be reluctant to discuss the possibility that they are experiencing memory loss caused by such a serious illness. Understandably, this possibility is very serious and nobody wants to think they will be affected.

If you notice that one of your parents is experiencing memory loss, then you should try to talk to them about it. But how? The topic can be an uncomfortable one to broach only because it can become a very serious issue. As an adult child, you may have never expected to have such a conversation with your parent, so you might not have prepared. We hope to teach you what you might expect.

A conversation with your mom or dad may be the first crucial step to address memory loss. Getting your parent to agree to see a doctor as early as possible is the best thing to do to provide effective, early treatment if necessary.

Here is what you can expect upon talking with your parent:

  1. Bringing up the topic is tough: Many aging parents do not want to open up to their children about their vulnerabilities. After all, you are still a child in their eyes, so why should they take advice from you?
  2. Approach the topic lightly: Recognize that addressing such a complicated topic may not happen in one sitting. Do not think of this “talk” as a singular event but as an ongoing process. After some time, your parent may become more comfortable about opening up and addressing any questions they might have about their health.
  3. Make your conversations meaningful: Understand that these are difficult conversations to have and that there may be times when your parent is not willing to tell you much. You may receive terse answers or no answers at all. But if you are patient, your parent can see that you respect their attitude and feelings, which may open up the possibility of continued conversations
  4. Acknowledge/Reassure: Acknowledge your parent’s feelings. For example, you can recognize how difficult the subject matter is for them to discuss; or you can recognize how upset they are at the current moment. Acknowledging their emotions and feelings is important to let them know that they are being taken seriously. Additionally, you must reassure them that you will be there for them as a source of support. If your parent knows they have a support system, then they may be less scared to inquire further about their cognitive health.

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