Memory and Aging: Mild Memory Loss

Sometimes a person with more than mild memory deficits seems to lose interest in the activities they used to do. Perhaps it is too challenging or the person is a bit self-conscious about their word finding difficulties.  Often the person has made a decision to limit driving and staying home becomes more comfortable. It may become harder to read books or do puzzles they used to enjoy. Cooking may become more about heating something in the microwave or opening up a can of soup.

When this happens a person may need the help of families and friends to find another way to stay engaged in life, perhaps on a different level. Do you know a friend, family member or a person in your faith community who seems to be withdrawing at times?

INITIATE CONTACT:
Often the older adult does not reach out for a variety of reasons. Call or stop by. Pick the person up and take them for a ride or to get a bite to eat together. Take them to visit another friend who might be in the hospital or homebound. Show them some of the new things going on in their community. Expand their world beyond the inside of their home.

There are also situations where an older adult or a couple has moved to an Independent Living residence. They may have been able to get around easily before and then one of them becomes ill and less able to get around or one of them died. There are many activities available in those settings but if the older adult has some memory, hearing, vision or mobility issues, they may begin to spend more time in their room. Perhaps they are no longer able to organize a schedule for themselves. Sometimes family does not live in the area and close friends may be dealing with their own limitations. It may be helpful to get involved by visiting or joining them in an activity they would enjoy. Look through the schedule for the rest of the week and write down the day and time of some other activities if they are not doing it on their own.

TO DO THIS WEEK:
Learn more about how to help an older adult stay more engaged if that seems to have changed recently for someone you know. Find out what some of the red flags might be. This information is something that will increase your awareness which may make a difference in the quality of life of someone that matters to you.

“A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Basil

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About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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