Protect Loved Ones From Dangerous Memory Lapses

Posted on September 9, 2013

As we age, many of us will face memory loss.  For some, this can manifest in so-called senior moments, where you forget something simple that doesn’t have immediate safety consequences.  That’s not the case when people begin to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  When that condition sets in, the memory issues that are present could actually have an adverse impact on health.  To address this, a new report provides a variety of safety tips that those with loved ones who have memory issues can put into action.

First, it’s important to make sure a loved one sticks to the proper medication regimen, which doesn’t necessarily occur when a person forgets to take their medication or that they already took medication.  Either situation could have severe health ramifications, as missing a dosage prevents one from receiving proper therapy, while taking multiple doses leaves one at risk for an overdose and all attendant side effects.

The best way to prevent an injury or worse in this regard is to supervise medication intake or hire someone who can do the same.  But if that’s not possible, then it’s important to invest in something like a pillbox that places the medication into individual compartments.  There are also pill dispensers that only provide dosages at the appropriate intervals.

It’s also important to make sure that a person with memory issues maintains the proper diet.  Family members should monitor their elderly loved ones’ physical appearance.  If a person appears emaciated, it could be because they’re forgetting to consume food at the proper times or missing out on food that contributes to a balanced diet.  If they’ve put on a lot of weight in a short span of time, they may be eating too much, forgetting that they had their previous meals.  This can hopefully be solved by checking in at regular intervals to remind the person about mealtime and the right foods to eat.

If a person cooks their own food, then caution must extend even further.  There’s always the worry that a burner could get left on, posing a fire threat.  Your loved one’s home should be equipped with smoke alarms that can alert the resident to a fire hazard.  These should be tested on a regular basis to ensure their viability.

Finally, there will come a time when being behind the wheel simply isn’t feasible anymore.  Broaching this topic can be difficult, but there are ways to ease into it.  The American Academy of Neurology, for instance, offers guidelines on skills evaluation, and older persons might ask their doctors about the feasibility of driving.  Loved ones can look into ride programs in the area and be available to offer rides to help loved ones cope with the new driving situation.

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