If you are caring for parents, you may be worried about their memory and whether there is anything you can do as part of your eldercare routine to help them maintain or even improve their memory functioning. According the American Psychological Association, there are several things people can do to boost their brain power:
- Be social - getting your parents involved in community activities and making visits with friends and family part of your eldercare routine can help boost their mood and improve memory.
- Make sure hearing and vision are at their best - Regular visits to eye and ear doctors should be part of your eldercare routine as well. Geriatric care specialists are best; this way, your parent will be able to effectively absorb and learn new information.
- Avoid distractions - when caring for parents, try to keep the environment calm and peaceful. Distractions such as noise, being required to do too many things at the same time, or even stressful thoughts can all interfere with your parents' ability to concentrate on what is being said to them.
- Don't let your parents buy into ageist stereotypes - unfortunately, even in geriatric care settings, ageism exists. Try to help your parents maintain a positive view of aging that includes staying sharp; studies have actually shown that keeping an optimistic attitude can improve memory among older adults. Along those lines, it is also important to not panic if you or your parents notice any memory changes - there are several explanations for changes in memory other than Alzheimer's disease.
- Use memory aids - it is perfectly all right for your parents to use memory aids; in fact, this could become a helpful part of your eldercare routine. Examples of memory aids include to-do lists, daily routines, keeping a calendar, keeping the household organized so everything has a place, and simply doing things at a relaxed pace instead of rushing - allow plenty of time for your eldercare activities and tasks.
The American Psychological Association also reminds us that normal changes in memory do not usually interfere with daily living and that these memory tips can often be very helpful in situations of normal aging. If you do notice while caring for parents that memory changes are affecting daily living, be sure to consult with a geriatric care specialist.
What memory tips have you found helpful for you or your parents? Post a comment to this blog, and be sure to sign up for our RSS feed to receive regular updates about new eldercare topics posted on EldercareABC.com