How to Support Your Loved One Who's Showing Early Signs of Cognitive Changes
If you have a loved one who is showing early signs of cognitive changes, it can be difficult to know what to do. You may feel scared and uncertain about the future. While you can't cure or prevent the changes from happening, there are ways that you can support your loved one. By providing emotional support and practical assistance, you can help them to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. Here are some tips for how to provide support for someone with early-stage cognitive changes.
Learn the signs of early cognitive changes
One of the most important things that family and friends can do for their loved ones is to learn the signs of early cognitive changes. By being aware of the early warning signs, we can help seniors get the care and support they need to live healthy, active lives.
One of the first things to look for is a change in sleeping patterns. Seniors may start to sleep more during the day and less at night. They may also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Another early sign is a change in appetite. Seniors may lose their appetite or start to eat more than usual. They may also begin to experience weight loss or gain.
Other early signs of cognitive decline include:
- Problems with memory
- Poor judgment
- Changes in mood or personality
If you notice any of these changes in your loved one, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Early intervention is key to maintaining cognitive health in seniors.
Help them stay organized and on track
For seniors showing the signs of early cognitive changes, there are a few things that can be done to help them stay organized and on track.
One is to provide a list of daily tasks or goals, and check off each one as it is completed. This can help with short-term memory by providing a visual cue of what has been accomplished.
Another tip is to create routines for specific activities, such as taking medications or going for walks. This can help to anchor the activity in the mind, and make it easier to complete.
Finally, it is important to be flexible and willing to adjust as needed. As cognitive changes progress, it may become necessary to change the way things are done in order to accommodate the evolving needs of the individual. By taking these steps, we can help make the transition easier for both seniors and their loved ones.
Keep communication open and positive
Early signs may include forgetfulness, difficulty finding the right word, or Trouble following conversations. It's important to keep communication open if you notice these changes in a loved one. Try to have positive and patient conversations, rather than scolding or getting frustrated. If the changes are impacting the person's ability to live independently, talk about options for assistance, such as hiring a caregiver or moving to an assisted living facility. Ultimately, the goal is to help the person maintain as much independence and control over their life as possible.
Assist with tasks that have become more difficult
Seniors who begin to experience early cognitive changes often find that everyday tasks become more difficult. They may have trouble keeping track of appointments or remembering to take medications. They may also have difficulty completing complex tasks, such as balancing a checkbook or cooking a meal. While it is important for seniors to maintain their independence, providing assistance with these tasks can help to prevent frustration and promote overall well being. If you are caring for a senior who is beginning to experience cognitive changes, here are some ways you can help:
- Make a list of daily tasks and help to schedule and organize them.
- Assist with specific tasks as needed, such as bill-paying or cooking.
- Encourage social activities and provide transportation to events.
- Offer emotional support and understanding.
By offering assistance and understanding, you can help a senior maintain their independence and promote their overall wellbeing.
Seek professional help if necessary
If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in memory or other cognitive abilities, it's important to seek professional help. Medical professionals will be able to determine whether the changes are due to normal aging or an underlying medical condition. If it is determined that your loved ones have a medical condition, treatments are available that can help to improve your symptoms.