Is your parent or another older loved one struggling with memory loss? If so, it can be difficult to witness the transition from someone you once looked to for guidance, to someone who needs your help to ensure life goes on smoothly. It can be important to be there for your loved one and help along the way. Let us take a look at four tips on helping a loved one deal with memory loss.

1. Manage Your Expectations. Understand that your loved one’s ability to recall things may be uneven and vary from day to day. Try not to hold it against your loved one if certain details may be part of his or her vocabulary one week, but the details cannot be recalled the next week. 

2. Offer Help When Needed. For important events like doctor’s appointments and family celebrations, it may be helpful for you to assist your loved one by providing reminders of the upcoming date, arranging necessary transportation, and keeping the event fresh in his or her mind leading up to the day so it does not come as a surprise. Keep in mind, however, that your loved one may also want to retain a measure of independence, so offer help where it may be needed, and to the extent necessary. A gentle reminder every few days may come off much better than a daily brusque phone call.

3. Take Time for Yourself. If you are the caregiver for your loved one or you are otherwise responsible for helping him or her plan, even if you are not physically present, remember to take a step back when you get frustrated and carve out time for yourself. It can be easier to help others when you are not stretched to the limit yourself.

4. Assist with Estate Planning. Encourage your loved one to go through the estate planning process early enough that he or she is able to participate fully and voice personal wishes without any concern that faculties may not be fully intact. As memory loss progresses, this may become a more difficult proposition. By making sure estate planning is taken care of, you may both have one less thing to worry about as time goes on.

Our office can guide a family through their estate planning options. Please contact our office today to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.