A debilitating diagnosis from a medical professional can be a lot to take in. There are many emotions which you could be going through at first, from anger to sadness. However, there are ways to help you adjust to, and live with, a memory disorder. Here is a guide to help you cope with a memory disorder.
What is a Memory Disorder
Memory disorders can impact an individual’s cognitive functions, logic and communication. There are many reasons why someone can develop a memory disorder. They can occur as a result of other medical conditions, such as a stroke or a brain tumour, or as a reaction to certain drugs and medicine. Other factors that cause memory disorders include hereditary genes, trauma and untreated infections. Certain types of disorders can happen almost instantaneously, while others are progressive. The severity can range depending on the individual and the type of disorder.
Alzheimer disease is a progressive memory disorder which has no cure. The symptoms usually appear when a person is in their mid-60s and the disease affects around 5.5 million Americans. It is the leading cause of dementia, although there are other causes too.
Dementia can affect a person's cognitive capabilities and behaviour. In time, dementia can result in behavioural changes, issues with communication and judgment, memory loss and confusion. The severity can range widely and there are different types of dementia. Different types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia. It is also common for individuals to have a combination of different types of dementia.
Grieve and Adjust
Receiving a diagnosis for a debilitating memory disorder can be overwhelming and it is essential to take the time to grieve and adjust. Having a memory disorder does not define you as a person and so it is important to realize your sense of self in your personal life. A mother will always remain a mothering figure to their child and a musician will always have music in their life. Stay in touch with who you are as a person.
Although there is no cure for the memory disorders highlighted above, you can make the best of the situation by adapting. Tweak your environment to reduce risks. By taking precautions, such as keeping the floor clear of trip hazards, you can prevent potential accidents from occurring. It can be useful to leave notes to remind yourself to perform certain tasks and to set up a daily routine to help you stay ahead.
Plan for the Future
Take control of your situation by planning for the future. Take into consideration your finances and healthcare. Decide on the important decisions while you are in a strong frame of mind.
Finances and Legal Affairs
It is always wise to have your legal affairs and finances in order, empower yourself and get these parts of your life in order while your mind is clear. Designating a trusted individual to be your power of attorney will ensure your best interests are met in the future. Drawing up a Living Will enables the people you trust to make decisions that line up with your desires. Legal affairs, and healthcare, can be costly. Take care of your finances now and research the costs of different types of healthcare you want for your future.
Consider where you want to be a few months, or years, down the line. Whether you are living with a spouse, relatives or alone, changes will need to be made to accommodate your circumstances. Home care services can be put in place to help you with everyday activities such as transport, personal care and cleaning. If you are living with someone, these services can greatly help them care for you. Daycare programs can offer assistance to people who do not require full-time care. Other options include independent living and assisted living facilities where you maintain independence, but have access to social communities and care. Family homes and nursing homes will provide you with all the care you require while maintaining a high quality of life for as long as possible.
Memory care units specialize in offering care specifically for older people with memory disorders. These units help people cope with their diagnosis and can reduce stress for their loved ones. Individuals live on-site and receive care 24/7. Memory care encourages autonomous living and can help individuals retain their quality of life for as long as possible. Frontier Management provides memory care services, plus assisted and independent living facilities, visit https://frontiermgmt.com for more information about their services.
At this point in life, it is important to reach out to family and friends and stay connected to people close to you. Internalizing your feelings can result in a downward spiral into anxiety and depression. It can be easy to alienate yourself and shy away from close circles, but staying connected can lift your spirit and prevent negative thoughts from creeping in. Keeping in touch with loved ones can help you cope better with your diagnosis and can keep your emotions in check. It will also update your loved ones and keep them in tune with your progress. In turn, this will help them help you cope better.
Whether you feel as though you have no one close to turn to or you simply do not want to speak to your loved ones about your disorder, outside help is always available. Reaching out to support groups will put you in touch with other people going through the same thing as you are. These groups can help you deal with expectations and can guide you through your journey.
Practical Tips to Slow the Symptoms
Although there is no cure for memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are ways to slow down the symptoms.
Keeping up a healthy lifestyle and staying active can stimulate the brain, while a balanced diet can keep your mind and body in check. Challenging yourself and keeping your brain active can improve your cognitive skills and stimulate mental activity. All of these small things can reduce stress and anxiety which can help you stay in control of your symptoms.