Upon a diagnosis of memory loss, you may have many questions and concerns. From what stage your loved one is in and what form of dementia they have to what changes will they face and what you can expect as their journey progresses, it can be a lot to handle. Although it is overwhelming and often scary, the best thing you can do is to ask your questions, find support and compile as much information as you can. This can not only help to prepare you, but it can help to give some peace of mind, clarity and insight into what you’re going to face in your journey.
What You Can Expect When Your Loved One Has Memory Loss
To help make your journey easier, we’ve compiled some of the top things you need to know once your loved one is diagnosed. While the person with memory loss may not experience all of these symptoms, knowing what you can expect ahead of time can help you to best prepare and face any challenges that may come your way.
- There will be different stages. Those with memory loss experience three different stages; these include early, middle and late stage. During the early stages you may not notice much of a difference in your loved one. This is often when your role consists of support. During the middle stages they will begin to need more care, have additional challenges and experience a range of symptoms. In the late stages your loved one will likely need intensive care and you will help to ensure they are living their best quality of life and being treated with dignity.
- They may have a hard time coping with their diagnosis. It can be very difficult for your loved one to accept they have a form of memory loss. It’s normal for your loved one to deny it, try to hide it, withdraw from friends and social activities and even become depressed, angry or afraid. At first, give your loved one some space to deal with their emotions, then, let them know you are there for them to talk to. Once they come around, you may find them opening up to you and it’s important to listen and not judge. It could help to attend a support group together if your loved one is open to it, as well.
- Changes may occur slowly or very rapidly depending on type. Various forms of dementia can progress in a number of ways. You may find that your loved one’s form of memory loss is progressing very slowly but that it then increases drastically. The middle stages of dementia can take years to progress, while the later stages of dementia can move very rapidly.
- They may experience a number of alarming behaviors. It’s fairly common for those with memory loss to become aggressive, angry, anxious and agitated for seemingly no reason. Many times, these behaviors occur because they are in an unfamiliar place, are with people they don’t know, they may be overstimulated, or they may simply be confused. It’s best to ensure your loved one is safe, that they have a place to retreat to and that they know you are there to keep them safe and protect them.
- Wandering may become a big issue. Wandering is often one of the things that scares caregivers of those with memory loss the most. This is because when a loved one wanders, they may not remember where they are, how they got there, who they are or how to get home. Wandering can be dangerous. However, there are a few ways to prevent it, including having a routine, reassuring your loved one, ensuring all their needs are met and preparing your home with locks, alarms and more.
- Sundowning may occur. In the evening you may notice your loved one getting restless, especially if they are in the middle stages of memory loss. This often occurs because of end-of-day exhaustion, shadows that scare your loved one, disorientation and more. To prevent this, ensure they have a comfortable, well-lit sleep environment, a schedule, are active during the day and avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
- They may repeat themselves often or need reminders. Those with memory loss may tend to forget what they are saying, lose words, need to be reminded of events and activities and more. Be patient and know they don’t mean to forget or repeat themselves. Instead, provide them visual reminders, redirect their attention and consider engaging them in an activity or conversation.
At The Grande at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, we are here to help make your journey of caring for a loved one with memory loss a little easier. If you have any questions, concerns or you simply want to find some support, contact us today. We would be happy to help you learn more about what to expect, what each form of dementia can entail and so much more.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog, detailing how you can prepare for the future after a diagnosis of memory loss.
Experience the Sterling Life
At The Grande at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, we provide an exceptional experience for those in need of a Memory Care Center of Excellence. Our residents can enjoy everything they need to live engaging and fulfilling lives – from an array of programs and activities and a variety of amenities to the peace of mind of dedicated care and a world of possibilities for enhanced wellness each day.
With spacious features that include a fitness center, dining room, and a greenhouse as well as small, easy-to-navigate neighborhoods for residents to enjoy, they can experience safety and comfort as well as the independence to explore.
As a partner with the Hearthstone Institute, we provide Dr. John Zeisel’s I’m Still Here® programming to change the way residents live. Each day, they can experience a joyful, fulfilling and active life while experiencing the care they deserve. To learn more, contact us today!
Call us at 770-383-1779 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.