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The various causes of memory loss can also exacerbate hearing and vision impairment. Simple changes can help your loved one function more independently—for example, use brightly colored dishware that contrasts with the tablecloth, or bath towels that stand out against the walls.
Those with memory loss are highly sensitive to our body language, and their own communication may not always take the form of words. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, so you can determine the underlying emotion and best response. For example, a tense jaw, rapid breathing and/or pacing may indicate anger—keep your posture non-threatening and your tone calm.
Memory loss often dulls previously held social restraints and sensitivity. While it’s okay to find certain behaviors embarrassing or hurtful, remember that your loved one’s reality—and interpretation of social situations—may be different from yours. These inevitable social stumbles aren’t your fault, and responding gently and calmly demonstrates your empathy as a caregiver.
Your loved one may be embarrassed about needing help with activities of daily living, like eating, so try your best to preserve their dignity in the process of helping. For example, adapt favorite foods by cutting them into strips or creating wraps or sandwiches—this turns them into more easily managed “finger foods.”
At Sunrise, we provide personalized quality care for those with memory loss. Rita Altman, Sunrise Senior Living's Vice President of Alzheimer's & Memory Care Program, gives 10 early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease from the Alzheimer's Association®.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between age-related changes in a loved one and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other forms of memory loss. To help, the Alzheimer’s Association® created this list of signs to look for:
Memory changes that disrupt daily life
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
Confusion with time or place
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
New problems with words in speaking and writing
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
Decreased or poor judgment
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Changes in mood and personality
You may notice one or more of these signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please speak with your loved one’s doctor or other professional.
Learn more about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimers here.