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10 Tips for Dealing with a Loved One Suffering from Memory Loss

1. Create a routine – Eliminate confusion by creating an easy daily routine for a memory loss patient to follow.

2. Have patience – Plan for even simple tasks to take longer with a patient suffering from memory loss. Maintain patience to keep the patient calm and agreeable.

3. Offer simple instructions – Provide a memory loss patient with simple, one-step instructions that are easy to understand and follow.

4. Limit choices – Offer fewer choices to a memory loss patient to reduce anxiety and make the situation less confusing.

5. Reduce distractions – When trying to complete a task, during meals or when carrying on conversations reduce distractions by shutting off the T.V. or radio.

6. Be flexible – Simple everyday activities can become very challenging for a memory loss patient so be flexible if plans change or things take longer than expected.

7. Safety first – Prevent falls by removing rugs and clutter from the floors. Lock up anything that could be hazardous such as medications, cleaning products, alcohol and weapons.

8. Provide dressing assistance - Lay out the patient's clothes everyday in a consistent, logical order to make dressing easier. If the patient wants to wear the same outfit every day, try buying several of the same outfit.

9. Advice for meals – Serve each food separately to reduce confusion. Prevent burns by making sure the food is not served too hot. Eat at regular times rather than waiting for the patient to say he or she is hungry. Eat together so meals become a positive time for the patient.

10. Dealing with difficult tasks – Pay attention to what time of day the memory loss patient is most calm and agreeable. Schedule difficult tasks such as going to doctors appointments during that time of day.

For more information about Memory Loss Care at St. Barnabas, contact Anne Nelson at (724) 625-4000 ext. 258 or anelson@stbarnabashealthsystem.com.

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