Memory impairment and cognitive dysfunction can be hard to process for the one experiencing the memory loss as well as those who are close to them. As frustrated as you may be talking to your loved one who used to be sharp as a knife, who now cannot remember how to tie their own shoes, just imagine how frustrating it must be for them! Many people are under the impression that if they talk slower or louder that somehow the message will get through. When a person remembers some things and not others, their loved ones often believe that memory is selective. Join us in today’s post as we discuss some of the things you should never say to someone who suffers from memory impairment.
It can be easy for those who don’t have memory problems to think that if the thing that is to be remembered is important or significant enough, that anyone should be able to remember it. However, it is important to remember that those who suffer from any sort of memory problem or cognitive dysfunction, that it is not selective and not in their control. Even if a person can remember some things sometimes, it is not based on how important the thing remembered is. Telling a person with dementia “this is important, don’t forget it” is like someone telling you a list of arbitrary words in a language that you do not speak and asking you to recall the list at will. Placing impossible demands on a dementia patient by telling them not to forget only makes them feel bad about the condition that they have no control over and will not help them remember it any better.
”Try harder to remember.”
Memory impairment of any kind — dementia, amnesia — is not selective and not affected by their will. When you tell someone with cognitive dysfunction “try harder to remember,” you are telling them that they have control over the issue and by not remembering, they see failing. It is important for you to remember that your loved one who is suffering from a cognitive deficit cannot just try harder. Memory tricks that work for those with normal cognitive functioning such as making lists or leaving notes, may be completely meaningless to those with dementia, who can struggle to process information to interpret the list.
Telling a person with memory impairment to pay attention while you tell them something you want to remember implies that when they cannot remember something that it is their fault for not paying close enough attention. As stated before, cognitive dysfunction is not selective or something that the person who suffers from it can do anything about. No matter how hard your loved one concentrates or how close attention they pay, it will not make a difference in information processing or memory recall.
Memory impairment affects everyone who comes into contact with the person who suffers from it. It is important that you learn about the way your loved one’s disorder works and what to expect. When you need help navigating memory disorders or need help caring for your loved one with cognitive dysfunction, contact the experienced memory care team at Serenity Gardens. Our staff has extensive training in memory care and can help you and your loved ones live the happiest life possible. Contact us for more information about our memory care assisted living services or to schedule your tour.