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How can we prepare for the further decline of my mother's memory?

Answered by David Troxel

April 24, 2014

My 91-year-old mother has been living in the moment for the past six months, and now she is not remembering us being at her home, and forgetting the children. She lives in her own home, but we have someone with her for about four hours a day. We always spend time getting her up in the morning. How should we prepare for this next decline? What could be next? Thank you.

With a progressive illness like dementia, her forgetfulness will likely worsen.

I’m glad you have some help in her home now. Certainly one consideration is that she will likely need more in-home help or other services in the future. Have you looked at adding in-home hours, enrolling her in an adult day program or (eventually) in assisted living? Making a game plan for the future is very important.

You mention that your mother is living in the moment. Try to enjoy those moments with her. Take time to reminisce—she may recall childhood memories. Encourage her to exercise (Medicare may even cover a round of physical therapy). Enjoy music together (music and song lyrics are very effective even into the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease). Take time to enjoy the backyard or patio. Visit a local ice cream store (even if you eat in the car to keep it simple).

It sounds like you are doing a great job for your mother. Making a game plan for the next year or two will help you and your extended family better work together to provide her with the best possible quality of life.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. May 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm
    Posted by Joyce Mace

    Facing a parent or partner with alzheimers is rough. You need to go see them more often or they will not remember you or your children. To reinforce their memory take them driving, ask them the name of the streets or places where you are to remind them. Put large calenders up and ask them the day of the wk, month, year. Make it interesting and do this almost daily. If they do not remember the names of the children, remind them of the names and to whom they belong. Ask them about things they did in the past and with whom but do not make a big thing if they don't know.

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