As we get older, our chance of experiencing age-related memory loss is often a natural occurrence. However, sometimes, lapses in memory and periods of confusion are more than just basic forgetfulness. Sometimes, these symptoms can be indicative of a significant cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Starting The Memory Loss Conversation Can Be Difficult
If you’re concerned about a loved one’s potential memory dysfunction, positive communication is essential to begin the treatment and care process. However, starting the conversation can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure how the person will respond to the discussion. Understanding a few useful tips can help you broach the subject kindly and compassionately.
Have A Plan
You may feel tempted to call attention to memory lapses as they happen as proof of your loved one’s patterns of forgetfulness. However, speaking up in the moment may cause the person to feel frustrated, defensive, or upset. Instead, plan a time where you can have a respectful dialogue and be ready to ask several important questions like:
- Have you noticed any changes in your memory?
- Do you think these moments are just age-related lapses?
- Are you open to seeing a doctor to discuss options?
- What can I do to help?
Being prepared in advance can help you have a more productive conversation and ensure the person understands you’re ready to support him as he moves forward to find answers.
Consider The Surrounding
Due to the highly personal nature of the conversation, it’s critical to find a place where you and your loved one feel comfortable talking openly and honestly with one another. Choose a quiet and familiar spot where you can speak without distractions and interruptions.
Use Honesty Without Judgment
Once the conversation begins, it’s crucial to speak in calm tones, using nonjudgmental language. Make your worries and concerns clear, using specific examples of recent events and behaviors, without making it seem like you’re placing blame or fault.
Be Ready To Listen
Remember to maintain an open dialogue where you listen as much as you talk. Refrain from telling the person what’s going to happen next; instead, ask for input from your loved one about what he thinks makes sense for next steps. Having a say in the plan moving forward can make a major difference in how much the person will participate in the process.
End On A Positive Note
Yes, the conversation may take a wide range of twists and turns; however, it’s important to end the discussion positively to ensure you’ll both be ready to explore your agreed upon next steps. Your plan may include consulting with a doctor for a full examination to more accurately determine if your loved one is currently experiencing something beyond normal age-related memory loss.