Senior woman sitting with her caregiver on couch holding hands, smiling, & chatting

Essential Tips & Resources for Caregivers of Individuals with Memory Loss

Caregivers are those who provide or help with the care of another individual. For the millions of people living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers are essential in ensuring these people live as well as possible. However, many caregivers struggle with how to best provide support for those with memory loss, as caregiver burnout is a common issue.

As a caregiver, it is important to make time for yourself and to give yourself grace. While memory impairments affect everyone differently, there are some key strategies you can try when you want to better support someone with memory loss.

Reevaluate Communication

Many people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease find that they cannot communicate the same ways they might have prior to being diagnosed with their condition. This is because these conditions affect the areas of the brain associated with memory and language, leading to speaking difficulties. These challenges can also cause agitation and anxiety in people living with these communication issues.

As a caregiver, you may need to restructure how you usually communicate with others in order to overcome any communication barriers with the person you care for. This means you may need to speak slower than usual and use short, clear sentences. Listening is another key part of communication, and reassuring the person that you understand their concerns when you hear them is important.

People who experience memory problems may also need help remembering names and events. Instead of pushing the person to remember on their own, you can tell the person the key details they have forgotten to prevent further frustrations from arising.

Keep Routines and Records

Routines are essential for people living with dementia since they prevent excess stress that may arise with unexpected events. This means that vacations and long trips are not the best idea, and staying in a familiar place will help the person remain as comfortable as possible. Routines help caregivers feel less stressed too. For example, if you plan to give a bath to the person you care for every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you will be more prepared to keep up with your weekly responsibilities.

Keeping records will help you and the person you care for remember things like appointments and medications. Having a calendar that you can use to track your routines will help you stay organized too. For people living with memory loss, providing a notebook or journal for the person to keep track of certain memories is another good idea. If the person is unable to write or read the journal, consider adding photos to the book instead.

Provide Engaging Activities

Caregivers can provide activities for people with memory loss to try with the goal of promoting exercise and mental stimulation. You can offer activities based on the abilities of the person too, but it’s important for you join in as well. Many times, people with dementia have trouble feeling motivated, but seeing someone else perform a task can encourage them to try it too.

Offering activities that a person has done before in their lives is a great way to boost their interests as well. For example, those who once enjoyed gardening can water indoor plants, and those who enjoyed hiking may take short walks with their caregiver.

Avoid Burnout

When caring for someone else, you may ignore your own needs and this can create burnout over time. To prevent caregiver burnout, remember to take time off as needed, and you can do this by taking the person you care for to a place that offers respite care like The Buckingham.

The Buckingham provides top-quality respite care, ensuring your family member receives the attention and support they need while you take a well-deserved break. You should also keep up with the activities that you enjoy, especially if the person you care for is able to join you.

Valuable Resources for Caregivers

To support your journey as a caregiver, here are some valuable resources:

  • Amazing Place and CarePartners: offer adult day care services, providing a safe and engaging environment for those with memory loss while giving caregivers a much-needed break.
  • Alzheimer’s Association: provides a wealth of information, support and resources for both caregivers and individuals living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Memory Loss Testing and Diagnosis at Baylor: offers comprehensive testing and diagnosis services to help understand and manage memory loss conditions.
  • Support Groups: joining a support group can offer emotional support and practical advice. Look for local groups or those offered by organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Gatherings at Places of Worship: many churches offer gatherings and support services for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers, providing a sense of community and shared experience.

By leveraging these tips and resources, you can better support your loved one with memory loss while also taking care of yourself.

Are you interested in learning more about how to support a family member with memory loss? At The Buckingham, we provide specialized services and care, with a team of experts who have the specialized training to help those with memory loss and their families.

We also offer the Silver Linings Support Group to provide additional support and resources. Reach out to us at 713-576-5114 or fill out our contact form today to get personalized advice and resources tailored to your needs.