Story by: David Martin; Reviewed by Tammy Evanow, APRN on December 28, 2023
Occasionally misplacing keys or forgetting the time of an appointment are examples of the normal forgetfulness that comes with age.
When the memory loss involves repeatedly asking the same question, having trouble naming objects, or changes in personality, these may be signs of dementia.
Dementia is persistent and progressive, meaning it will get worse with time.
“I know how challenging it can be for caregivers to help someone with memory loss,” said Tammy Evanow, APRN, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Norton Neuroscience Institute. “When a loved one is losing their memory, there are things you can do to help every step of the way.”
First, if you see signs of dementia, have a conversation. Pick a place where the person feels comfortable. Be gentle but straightforward.
When raising the issue, try the following:
“Let your loved one know that the sooner you both know what’s causing these problems, the sooner they can be addressed,” Tammy said.
As dementia progresses, a person with the condition may have trouble remembering recent conversations or events. They may not be able to retrieve the memory or may not have stored the information in the first place.
It’s not helpful to tell someone with dementia that they are repeating themselves or have heard the information already. Try not to become frustrated. Do what you can to maintain body language that is warm and encouraging.
Get care online, at your primary care provider’s office, at a Norton Immediate Care Center or through a Norton Prompt Care Clinic.
As the dementia progresses further, remembering names and words becomes more difficult. The person may even forget the names of people they have known for a long time. They might also confuse words or forget the meanings of words. Try some of these strategies:
The Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Center has caregiver support services, including a memory caregiver support group, education opportunities and classes, such as the Scrapbooking for Memory Workshop.
Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.