The fading loss of memories not only has a profound impact on patients, it can also lead to depression, a sense of helplessness and isolation in their caregivers. Memory loss leads to an erosion of independence, adding pressure on the caregivers to help keep memories alive, cope with increased physical care giving responsibilities as well as with a multitude of changes, both big and small. Memories define and shape one’s personality and with the loss of memories comes confusion and frustration.
According to the Monterey Herald, the University of California’s Los Angeles Longevity Center has been developing a program to boost an individual’s memory as well as help patients and caregivers cope with the changes in their loved ones.
Researchers are seeking methods to strengthen memory and brain function and not surprisingly, their studies have found that physical and mental exercises, managing stress and eating healthfully can improve cognitive abilities. Mental exercises, such as playing games and storytelling as well as physical exercises, such as tai chi and learning simple ballroom dances, are among the techniques under study to help decrease memory loss and improve recall. In addition, the program also works with the caregivers to help them better understand the disease and provide the opportunity to connect with others facing similar challenges.
Many memory-impaired individuals may have neurological problems that go beyond basic aging, including Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, eventually leading to regression and permanent memory loss. While some exercises may slow the memory loss, life will be very different from what it had been. Finding a support group who can share their experiences and commiserate on common challenges can help relieve some of the stress placed on the caregivers.
Working with a professional elder care company can also help alleviate some of the stress of a difficult situation by providing assistance locating customized elder care services. If the time has come when you or a family member is no longer able to live independently, please contact ElderLink to discuss the options and learn about assisted living services and facilities throughout California.