Helpful Tips…In Case You Forget
Alzheimer’s and other conditions that affect our ability to remember even those closest to us are devastating. And while we may refer to having “a senior’s moment,” the possibility of developing dementia eats away at many of us.
So, until a permanent solution can be found, what can we do?
According to wikiHow, the following will help keep our minds sharp:
1. Enhance our thinking and word skills by doing things such as reading and writing
2. Play games such as Sudoku, chess, even video games
3. Challenge ourselves by doing such things as writing or drawing with our non-dominant hand and playing an instrument.
5. Participate in lifelong learning
6. Lead a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, getting exercise, and developing a good sleep routine
The experts at HelpGuide.org call the following “The six pillars of a brain-healthy lifestyle”:
1. Regular exercise
2. Healthy diet
3. Mental stimulation
4. Quality sleep
5. Stress management
6. An active social life
These recommendations may very well help stave off dementia, but it is not 100 percent guaranteed. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is plan ahead, especially if we do become aware of the early warning signs.
But first, an aside . . .
Remember when you were 20-something, went into a room and forgot why you were there. You likely didn’t think that it was anything to worry about. If you have a lot on your mind . . . if you keep yourself busy . . . if you’re stressed (even about your forgetfulness) . . . Any—or all—of these can make it more difficult to remember.
If, however, you or your loved ones see evidence that you are forgetting important things and that you do so more and more frequently, it is best to speak with a medical professional. (If you have any concerns, it’s a good idea to do so.)
Here are some things you can do with the help of family and friends:
1.Write a script and record a video of things you want to remember. Even if you can’t imagine forgetting certain things, it’s best to include them (i.e.: your name, your spouse’s name, the names and birthdates of children and grandchildren, where you grew up, what job(s) you held, etc.).
2.Write a letter to yourself and keep it somewhere safe. Maybe even give a copy to a family member for safekeeping.
3.Even if you’ve never kept a journal, it isn’t too late to begin. Make a habit of writing in it every day and rereading previous entries often.
4.Whether in your journal or elsewhere, keep a list of things you’re thankful for. Add to the list regularly; doing so daily is best. Focussing on the positives can lift your spirits.
5.Ask your friends and family members to make videos of happy memories on a format you can watch.
6.Even if you haven’t kept stacks of family photos, with the help of someone who has a few hours to spare, put together a scrapbook or photo album and include captions with as much detail as possible.
7.Put together a playlist of your favourite music. If you have trouble doing so, one of your children or grandchildren will likely be able to help you. Music goes straight to the emotions. Listening to your favourites from over the years may bring back memories long buried.
8.And the sense that most readily evokes memories is smell. If you have a favourite scent and don’t live in a scent-free environment, keep a scented candle or potpourri on hand to stir those memories.
9.Make as many new happy memories as possible and keep a record of them (photos, journal entries, videos, etc.).
And a word to anyone who has a family member or close friend dealing with dementia of any kind . . .
It’s hard to watch your loved ones decline and easy to understand why you limit the time you spend with them, but remember your visits might mean more than you’ll ever realize—to both of you.