Memory loss

Memory loss

Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms in dementia.  Usually, the memory gradually becomes worse over time. You may experience that the person with dementia gets more and more confused or disorientated. Maybe the person forgets basic facts such as who other people are, where they are and what year it is, or confuses the past with the present. Avoid to draw attention to mistakes. For example, if you understand what the person is trying to communicate, don’t try to correct the mistake. Most likely they will just feel annoyed or embarrassed.  If the person is willing and able to use memory aids, it’s possible to use lists, diaries, clocks etc. to help the person to remember, for example, dates or persons.  As the dementia progresses, the person may become less able to understand what the aids are for.

Stay calm.

Although it can be painful that the person with dementia doesn’t recognize you or calls you by a different name, try not to get upset.

Respond with a brief explanation.

Keep information simple and repeat it frequentlyUse simple and easy to understand explanation. Long explanations or statements can overwhelm the person with dementia.

Keep information simple and repeat it frequently.

Try to use simple words and sentences and reduce the explanation to a minimum. Repeat the information regularly.  

Show photos or other reminders.

Use photographs or other items to help the person remember important relationships and places.

Travel with the person to where s/he is in time.

Offer corrections as suggestions.

Avoid explanations that sound like corrections. Try to spin it around so the correction is more like a suggestion: "I thought it was a door" or "I think he is your husband."

Try not to take it personally.

Try to remember that it’s the disease that makes your loved one forget. Nevertheless, love and understanding will always be appreciated.

Break new activities down into small steps.

Break new activities down into small steps and help the person to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Alzheimer’s Society
From day one of dementia, we’ll be right here with you. For support and advice. For pushing for change, and for life-changing treatments and care.
Alzheimer Society of Canada

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The DemiCare project has been funded by the Active and Assisted Living programme. AAL is a European programme funding innovation that keeps people connected, healthy, active and happy into their old age.

AAL supports the development of products and services that make a real difference to people’s lives - for those facing some of the challenges of ageing and for those who care for older people if they need help.

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