How to Help an Elderly Parent with Memory Loss

Author

The Fairways At Naples

For more information about the author, click to view their website: The Fairways at Naples

Posted on

Aug 15, 2023

Book/Edition

Florida - Southwest

Share This

Supporting a parent or loved one as they age can be a challenge. This is especially true if you begin to notice gradual changes to your loved one’s mind and body. Memory loss is one of the more common changes you may notice when caring for an elderly parent. 

Occasional forgetfulness is often a normal part of the aging process, whether it’s forgetting where you’ve left your reading glasses or you can’t recall the name of a new neighbor. According to a report in the National Library of Medicine, about 40% of seniors aged 65 and older experience some degree of memory loss. However, if memory loss starts to impact everyday activities like driving or medication management, it may be time to seek the help of a medical professional who can screen for dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Seniors living with memory loss may require more comprehensive memory care than what can be provided at home by a loved one, and they may benefit from moving into a memory care community, such as The Fairways at Naples.  

If your elderly parent is not at the stage where they may benefit from professional memory care, there are still a number of things you can do to support them.

A senior man is holding a bowl of cereal and fruits for breakfast.

6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP AN ELDERLY PARENT WITH MEMORY LOSS

ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAY ACTIVE & ENGAGED

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a great way for seniors to stay engaged with the world around them. Encourage your senior parent to regularly partake in their favorite hobbies and social groups. 

Activities like puzzles, reading, and word games are other great ways to keep their minds active. Motivating your loved one to participate in physical activities and exercise that align with their physical abilities is another way you can support healthy aging. Even a leisurely walk around the neighborhood can promote physical and mental health. 

CREATE A ROUTINE

It’s easy for anyone to forget things in the chaos of everyday life. Maintaining a consistent schedule is a good way to ensure that your senior parent stays organized and on task. Work with them to create a structured routine and build habits like leaving their reading glasses in the same spot or taking their medication at the same time each day. 

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET

Help your elderly loved one maintain a healthy balanced diet to promote healthy aging and brain function. This could include cooking a healthy meal together, helping to prepare their meals ahead of time, or signing them up for pre-made meal delivery. 

Older adults should maintain a varied diet that is rich in essential vitamins. Some healthy food options include:

  • Fatty fish: Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown promise in slowing age-related mental decline. Eating two servings of fatty fish such as salmon, cod, and canned tuna per week can help ensure that your loved one gets a sufficient amount of omega-3s in their diet. Not a fan of fish? Foods like walnuts, spinach, and flaxseeds are also rich in omega-3. 
  • Berries: Berries are packed with essential vitamins to promote healthy aging. Berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are particularly good options as they are packed with antioxidants and studies show that they can help prevent age-related mental decline. 
  • Leafy greens: Rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, leafy greens are great to add to meals. Incorporating leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and collards into your diet may also help slow mental decline. 

If you are having trouble ensuring that your elderly loved one is eating a healthy, balanced diet, consulting their healthcare provider about supplements can be a good way to ensure that they are getting all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients to promote healthy aging. 

CREATE A REMINDER SYSTEM

Assist them in creating a reminder system, like a calendar or to-do list, to help them keep track of upcoming events, appointments, and tasks. For more tech-savvy seniors, setting up reminders on their smartphone or a smart speaker can be a helpful way to make sure that reminders are front of mind and allow you to check in on them more regularly. 

BE PATIENT & SUPPORTIVE

Memory loss is a common part of aging. It’s important to be understanding and patient with your loved one. Create a safe home environment for your senior parent and ensure that they have easy access to essential items like medication or eyeglasses. If your elderly parent lives alone, check in with them regularly to ensure that they feel supported. 

SEEK HELP WHEN NECESSARY

You do not have to go it alone when supporting an elderly parent. Consulting with a healthcare provider may be an important step in identifying what type of support your loved one needs, especially if you notice that their memory loss is progressing. 

MEMORY CARE SUPPORT FOR YOUR LOVED ONE

If your elderly parent is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may benefit greatly from transitioning into a memory care community. At The Fairways at Naples, we provide personalized support to our residents which includes 24/7 nursing care, professionally-led health and wellness programs, and in-house physical exams. 

If you would like to learn more about our memory care community, contact us here. 

Other Articles You May Like

Types of Alzheimer's Disease

Types of Alzheimer's Disease Different researchers classify Alzheimer's Disease using vastly different stages.  Alzheimer's Disease has a genetic component that becomes active in some people and dormant in others. Alzheimers creates an environment that promotes brain changes in those affected.  Lastly, amyloid plaque is the brains protective response to vastly different lifestyle insults.Alzheimers Disease is an imbalance of multiple systems within the body. People with Alzheimers disease usually have more than one type and present multiple risk factors.One of the things I like most about breaking Alzheimers into types is once you know where you stand, it is easy to begin to resolve. Dr. Bredesens books provide many examples from his patients.   Also, please keep in mind that in the descriptions below, I am cutting and pasting most of the information.  I do not want to risk misinterpreting any of Dr. Bredesens research and misinforming you. Type 1Type 1s primary characteristic is inflammation.  It tends to run in families as it is common in people who carry one or two ApoE4 alleles (ApoE in itself is considered an inflammatory gene). Individuals begin to lose the ability to store new information in the hippocampus for individuals who carry two copies of ApoE4 this tends to start in the late fifties or early sixties. For those with no copies of ApoE4, symptoms present typically in the sixties or seventies. A reduced hippocampal volume chronic inflammation encourages the brain to destroy synapses faster than it creates them.Biochemical Markers of Type 1 An increase in C-reactive protein (CRP), which is made by the liver in response to inflammation. A decrease in the ratio of albumin to globulin. An increase in interleukin-6. An increase in tumor necrosis factor. Additional metabolic and hormonal abnormalities such as insulin resistance  Type 2Type 2s primary characteristic is low levels of nutrients, hormone factors, and/or trophic factors.  Type 2 also occurs more frequently in those who carry one or two copies of the ApoE4 allele, but the symptoms tend to initiate about a decade later than the inflammatory Type 1. Individuals begin to lose the ability to form new memories in the hippocampus. However, there is little to no evidence of inflammation sometimes inflammatory markers may be lower than normal.Biochemical Markers of Type 2Levels of hormones such as thyroid, adrenal, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and pregnenolone tend to be suboptimal. The optimal hormone ranges are: TSH: less than 2.0 mIU/L Free T3: 3.2-4.2 pg/mL Free T4: 1.3-1.8 ng/dL Reverse T3: less than 20 ng/dL AM Cortisol: 10-18 mcg/dL Pregnenolone: 100-250 ng/dL Estradiol: 50 250 pg/ mL (women, age-dependent) Progesterone: 1-20 ng/mL (women, age-dependent) Testosterone: 500-1,000 ng/dL (men) 25-70 ng/dL (women) A decrease in serum Vitamin D levels. Normal Vitamin D levels should be 50-80 ng/mL.An increase in homocysteine levels can occur. Normal homocysteine levels should be less than or equal to 7 mol/ L (homocysteine is also seen to increase in Type 1)Insulin resistance can occur OR insulin levels may be too low.Type 1.5Type 1.5s primary characteristic is insulin resistance (diabetes). Type 1 and Type 2 Alzheimers Disease can occur together often seen with neural inflammation in addition to the reduced support for brain synapses. A commonly seen combination of type 1 and type 2 AD is known as Type 1.5 or glycotoxic Alzheimers Disease.Biochemical Markers of Type 1.5Although characteristics are similar to those found in Type 1 and Type 2 AD, blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c are chronically high in Type 1.5 which results in inflammation. Normal fasting blood glucose levels should be between 70-90 mg/dL Normal hemoglobin A1c levels should be 4.0-5.3% High levels of insulin that are secreted in response to this high blood glucose level lead to insulin resistance. This results in a loss of trophic support. Trophic support refers to a variety of chemical signals that neurons need to continue living. Brain cells die and the brain shrinks when you experience a loss of trophic support.Neurons are energetically expensive cells. They use a lot of oxygen and require a large expenditure of energy in the form of ATP to do their normal functions. As part of homeostatic adjustment, the body prefers to minimize extra energy usage. However, since neurons are critically important for healthy functioning, they receive signals in the form of chemicals that tell them to continue working. These chemicals are called trophic factors.Many of these trophic factors are synthesized and released by glial cells of the nervous system, the non-neuronal cells that interact closely with the neurons. Glial cells, particularly the astrocytes and Schwann cells, are well-known producers of trophic support molecules.One of the best-characterized trophic support molecules is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. BDNF is a large protein. BDNF is normally synthesized and produced by cells of the nervous system and is important for making changes in neurons or for the growth of nerve cells. BDNF signals through the activity of several different receptors, the most well-known being the TrkB receptor. Other neurotrophic factors used by the nervous system that are important as trophic support molecules include nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin-3, glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and ephrins. Trophic factors, such as NGF and BDNF, control the development and survival of specific groups of neurons. Type 1, Type 1.5 & Type 2 Alzheimers Disease lead to the imbalance between the production and destruction of neural synapses. Type 3Type 3s primary characteristic is exposure to toxins such as mercury, toluene, benzene (candles), or mycotoxins (mold). Type 3 tends to occur in those who have the ApoE3 allele rather than ApoE4 and does not typically run in families.Type 3 hits individuals at younger ages, typically late forties to early sixties. Symptoms do not begin with memory loss but rather with cognitive difficulties involving numbers, speech, or organization. Individuals will start seeing difficulties with: Math, such as calculating tips or bills. Speech, such as finding the right words, or spelling or reading correctly. Rules of games, such as poker or bridge. Depression and attention deficits are common. The brain ultimately loses recent and old memories.Patients with Type 3 are often diagnosed initially with something other than Alzheimers Disease such as depression or frontotemporal dementia. Biochemical Markers of Type 3 Low triglyceride levels as compared to cholesterol levels. MRI scans show shrinkage of the hippocampus. Neuroinflammation and vascular leaks are presented on a specific MRI called FLAIR (Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery) as white spots. Decreased zinc levels. Normal levels are between 90-110 mcg/dL. Elevated copper levels. Normal copper levels are between 90-110 mcg/dL. High blood levels of toxic chemicals such as mercury or mycotoxins (caused by molds). The pituitary gland and adrenal glands become dysfunctional, which can show up in lab tests as hormonal abnormalities. Type 4Type 4s primary characteristic is low blood flow to the brain. Type 4 or Vascular Alzheimers Disease, is caused by a reduction of blood flow to the brain, which ultimately deprives the brain of essential oxygen and nutrients. The brain is an extremely vascularized tissue, meaning it requires large amounts of oxygen. A lack of oxygen to the brain leads to hypoperfusion (low blood flow) and compromises the blood-brain barrier which allows for harmful substances to leak in and damage neurons. Cerebral vasculature is extremely important as it is one way the body clears the accumulation of amyloid-beta.Biochemical Markers of Type 4Leakiness present in vascular tissues.Individuals with cardiovascular disease have a high risk for Type 4 Alzheimers.These individuals do best when they prioritize healing underlying insulin resistance. Type 5Type 5s primary characteristic is brain damage. Type 5 or trauma-induced Alzheimers, results from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) which disrupt normal brain function, including learning and thinking skills. Certain types of TBIs may increase the risk of developing Alzheimers disease years after the injury takes place.One of the most impactful studies showed that those with a history of moderate TBI had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing Alzheimers than older adults with no history of a head injury and those with a history of severe TBI had a 4.5 times greater risk.Biochemical Markers of Type 5There are no biochemical markers for Type 5 as it is triggered by injuries to the brain such as: Blunt force trauma Concussions Physical Abuse Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) Now that we have broken down Alzheimers Disease into 6 different types and identified their characteristics and potential causes we can begin to address what you need to do to prevent and begin to heal the damaging insults to the brain.  We will begin to work on that next week. OR if you want to jump ahead, purchase Dr. Dale Bredesens books.  Here are the links to purchase them on Amazon.The End of Alzheimers 2 Books Collection Set By Dale Bredesen Paperback October 26, 2023LINK: https://amzn.to/462LcY3 The End of Alzheimer's Program: The First Protocol to Enhance Cognition and Reverse Decline at Any Age Paperback September 6, 2022LINK: https://amzn.to/3xNcrct

Independent Living: A Gateway to an Enriched Lifestyle for Seniors

As seniors age, the desire for independence, social engagement, and a fulfilling lifestyle often remains strong. Independent living communities offer a perfect blend of autonomy, community, and convenience, allowing seniors to enjoy their golden years to the fullest. Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh is dedicated to helping seniors and their families navigate the world of independent living, ensuring they find the ideal community that meets their needs and preferences. Heres a detailed look at what independent living entails and how Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh can assist in the journey.What is Independent Living?Independent living is a housing arrangement designed specifically for seniors, typically those aged 55 and older, who are capable of managing their daily lives without the need for significant medical or personal assistance. These communities provide a range of amenities and services that promote an active, social, and maintenance-free lifestyle. Residents enjoy private living spaces, often in the form of apartments or cottages, along with access to communal areas and activities.Key Features of Independent Living CommunitiesPrivate Residences:Independent living communities offer a variety of housing options, including apartments, cottages, and villas, allowing seniors to choose the living space that best suits their preferences and lifestyle.Maintenance-Free Living:One of the primary benefits of independent living is the freedom from home maintenance chores. Lawn care, housekeeping, and home repairs are typically included, allowing residents to enjoy a stress-free lifestyle.Social Opportunities:These communities are designed to foster social interaction and engagement. They often feature communal dining areas, social clubs, and a wide range of activities and events, from fitness classes to cultural outings.Amenities and Services:Independent living communities offer an array of amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, libraries, and on-site dining options. Many also provide transportation services for shopping, medical appointments, and recreational outings.Safety and Security:While independence is key, safety is also a priority. Many communities are gated and provide 24-hour security. Additionally, some may offer emergency response systems in residences for added peace of mind.Benefits of Independent LivingEnhanced Quality of Life:With access to various amenities and social opportunities, seniors can lead a more active, engaged, and fulfilling life.Social Connections:Independent living communities provide ample opportunities to make new friends and build a supportive social network, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.Freedom and Autonomy:Seniors maintain control over their daily routines and lifestyle choices while enjoying the convenience of a supportive community.Stress-Free Living:With home maintenance and other chores taken care of, residents have more time to pursue hobbies, travel, and other interests.How Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh Can HelpNavigating the myriad of options available in independent living can be overwhelming. Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh is here to provide expert guidance and support, ensuring seniors and their families find the perfect community. Heres how we can assist:Personalized Assessment:Our experienced advisors conduct thorough assessments to understand the seniors preferences, lifestyle, and budget. This helps us identify the most suitable independent living communities.Comprehensive Information:We provide detailed information about various independent living options, including amenities, services, and costs, allowing families to make informed decisions.Community Tours:We arrange and accompany families on tours of selected communities, providing insights and answering any questions that arise during the visits.Support with Transitions:Moving can be a significant change. We offer support throughout the transition process, ensuring a smooth and stress-free move into the new community.Ongoing Assistance:Our commitment doesnt end with the move. We continue to offer support and advocacy, addressing any concerns and helping to ensure the seniors ongoing satisfaction and well-being.ConclusionIndependent living communities offer an ideal solution for seniors who seek a vibrant, active, and maintenance-free lifestyle while maintaining their independence. Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh is dedicated to helping seniors and their families navigate the journey to independent living with ease and confidence. Our personalized, expert guidance ensures that seniors find the perfect community to call home, where they can enjoy their golden years to the fullest.If you or a loved one is considering independent living, reach out to Assisted Living Locators North Pittsburgh today. Let us help you find the community that best fits your needs and aspirations. Together, we can make the next chapter of life the most enriching one yet.

Support Options for Adult Children Taking Care of an Elderly Parent

Caring for an aging parent is something a lot of us will face. Right now, over 37 million people across the U.S. are walking this path, pouring their hearts into caring for their parents. If your elderly parent is living with you, or if you're figuring out how to support them from miles away, you know this journey is all about love, dedication, and sometimes, a bit of sacrifice.Sometimes, you might catch yourself thinking, "I don't want to care for my elderly parents all by myself." Its okay to be honest about how youre feeling. Weve been there, and we're here to help bring joy into the aging process, for both you and your loved one. The good news? You dont have to walk this road alone. This blog is all about getting real with the reasons we might find ourselves stepping into caregiver shoes, and sharing several care options that can lighten your load and brighten your aging parent's day.How Adult Children Become CaregiversLets look at why adult children often end up being the go-to caregiver for their senior parents.Sense of Duty and Responsibility: After all the years they spent caring for us, it feels natural to want to return the favor. This feeling, while rooted in love and respect, can leave us feeling obligated to take on the role of caregiver.Fear of Negative Consequences: Nobody wants to feel like theyre letting their parents down or worrying about getting side-eye from family and friends. This kind of pressure can make us feel stuck in the caregiver role, even when its tough.Parents Increasing Dependence: Watching our parents age and become more reliant on us can be a challenging transition. While it can feel overwhelming, the last thing we want is for them to think theyre a burden.Family Dynamics: Oh, the joys of family life! When it comes to caring for our parents, those complicated relationships and emotional ties can play a significant role in adult children feeling trapped caring for elderly parents. Being an Only Child or the Local Child: If youre an only child or the sibling who lives nearest to your aging parent, the sense of responsibility can feel even greater to step up as the family caregiver for your mom, dad, or both.Lack of Alternative Care Options: Without other family members pitching in or the funds to pay for professional caregivers, you may feel like theres no choice but to continue caring for your parents all on your own.Thankfully, there are ways to manage your situation without feeling like you're giving up your life to care for elderly parents. Wrapping You in Support: Alternative Care for Your Senior Loved OnesWhen youre standing at a caregiving crossroads, knowing there are different paths you can take is a game-changer. Lets dive into some options that offer both you and your loved ones a breath of fresh air.In-home CareIn-home care is all about keeping your parent comfy and happy wherever they live. If youre caring for elderly parents in your home, theyll come to you! Services range from skilled medical care by nurses or therapists to non-medical support such as help with daily activities, meal preparation, and companionship. Best for: Older adults who need regular assistance or medical care but want to maintain their independence by staying in their familiar home environment.Nursing HomesNursing homes provide older adults with around-the-clock medical care and supervision, designed for older adults with significant health needs that cant be safely managed at home. These facilities offer a high level of support, including access to healthcare professionals, rehabilitation services, and social activities.Best for: Older adults with advanced medical needs that require comprehensive care and continuous professional monitoring.Assisted LivingAssisted living strikes a balance between independence and support. Older adults live in their own private living spaces but have access to help when they need it, along with meals and social activities. Residents can enjoy community activities, social opportunities, and the security of available care.Best for: Older adults who dont want the responsibility of maintaining a home but still wish to live independently.Respite CareNeed a breather? Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers, ranging from a few hours to several weeks. This allows adult children to take time away from their daily caregiving responsibilities to handle personal matters, or simply rest and recharge.Best for: Family caregivers who need to take a well-deserved break, whether it's for personal time, vacation, or emergencies. Adult DaycareAdult daycare centers are like summercamp for older adults. They offer a safe and engaging environment where your parents can spend their day enjoying various activities, meals, and socializing, with professional oversight and care available as needed. Best for: Older adults looking for social interaction and activities during daytime hours, and for caregivers who work or need regular breaks. NaborforceNaborforce connects older adults with community members, known as Nabors (pronounced "Neighbors"), happy to lend a helping hand to older adults in the area. From picking up groceries to sharing a friendly conversation, Nabors offer both practical help and social engagement, bringing joy to older adults wherever they are. Best for: Older adults who need a bit of help now and then around the house or around town without the need for a fixed schedule or long-term commitment. Remember that you have options the next time you feel trapped caring for elderly parentshelp is just a call away!When You Need a Helping Hand, Call NaborforceAt Naborforce, we bridge the gap between full independence and formal senior care by providing on-demand help to older adults. Through our simple platform, we make it easy to connect your loved one with vetted individuals right in their communityno strings attached. If youre looking for a kind, reliable person to help out your parent now and then, sign up to schedule a visit from Naborforce.Our Nabors are currently offering a helping hand in places like:Atlanta, GABethesda, MDCharlotte, NCCharlottesville, VADallas, TXFort Worth, TXNorthern VirginiaRaleigh, NCRichmond, VAVirginia BeachOur goal is simple: to make life a little easier and a lot more enjoyable for older adults. Give us a call at 844.MY.NABOR or sign up your senior loved one today.