When one finds themselves in the role of caring for an older adult in their lives usually it is for two reasons: your loved one has issues related to their physical well being or they have some form of memory loss. Neither is an easy road to hoe, but for those caring for a loved one with memory loss there are very different challenges that they face.
First there is the change in communication. A person with memory loss is not able to communicate as easily with their loved one. They may have difficulty finding the right word or misunderstand the meaning of words. They may not be able to focus or maintain their train-of-thought and blocking out background noise becomes very difficult. Therefore, they are easily distracted and become frustrated when communication doesn’t work. This poem from an Alzheimer’s Patient helps keep this thought in mind.
In addition, one of the first things usually affected by those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is their ability to plan or initiate steps to complete a task. This loss is classified as the loss of Executive Functioning. It’s not that Dad doesn’t want to take out the garbage it is that he can’t mentally remember what the first step is to start the process or he may not even truly understand the request that you are asking him to complete.
When one takes the time to realize that the act of communicating with those with memory loss when done with patience and warmth can still be effective long into the disease process.