Seniors: Keeping Memory and Mind Active

Oct 16th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

If you live with someone who is experiencing mind challenging issues, i.e. forgetfulness, it becomes a big time adjustment to exercise patience, demonstrate calm compassion, recognize the cognitive reality in which your loved one exists and to create as normal an environment as possible.

Discovering the decline in my father’s in law memory has enabled me to raise my sensitivity level when in conversation and things go south.   During an hour’s or so visit, it is not uncommon to be in a situation to repeat several times over what has been said before, what is being referenced at the moment, what everyone else understood, but one of the number didn’t, couldn’t comprehend at all.

Persons, family and friends, who understand the phenomenon will be quick to take up the immediate circumstance and find ways to direct it in such a way that no one needs be embarrassed, no one needs feel awkward, and the person with memory issues continues a part of the dialog. 

Lacking ability to make that happen, means that someone needs to begin grooming that ability so that flow and participation and affirmation of everyone there can be achieved.  Increasingly, persons with dementia and memory issues will be among our social circles, perfectly capable of participating in every other respect, but occasionally losing track of where the conversation is or where it is going. 

Helping a person with memory loss to be a part of a social environment often means everyone else having to lift the conversation to a level that he/she can appreciate, understand and fully participate in.  It may mean a total shifting of where the conversation was headed.  So what?  if the memory loss person is affirmed, made to feel good and a part of the social dynamic, what a gift everyone will have given and received.

Keeping a person with memory loss issues a part of a family will be an ongoing undertaking that everyone can learn from. Being considerate and sensitive to persons in such a condition will be something that produces growth and sensitive development on your own part.

Recommended means for contributing to alertness and a sharp response in conversational settings will offer the person with memory loss a chance to challenge his or her own mind.  Take them back to the past, help them recall things they are likely to be able to bring up.  Assist them to find something in their treasure trove that will prompt their particpation and excitement at being able to share with everybody else. 

You and they will be the richer for having been a part of a conversation that no one might have expected.



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