What To Do When Alzheimer’s Patients Remember
When an Alzheimer’s patients begins to remember, those memories should not be ignored or suppressed. Instead, help them through remembering or reminiscing. Alzheimer’s is a condition that affects the memory of an individual. As time goes by and the disease progresses from one stage to another, the patient begins to lose their memory and mental capabilities to a point where they forget simple body movement.
Before a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, changes in the brain have already taken place and the symptoms of dementia begin to appear.
In the onset, patients forget:
- The right words or names
- The names of new people introduced to them
- How to perform tasks in social or work settings
- Material they have just read
- Where they have placed valuable objects
- By the middle or moderate stage, patients do not remember:
- Their own personal history
- Their address, telephone number or the high school or college they graduated from
- Their location or what day it is
- How to control their bladder movements
- Their sleeping patterns and can find themselves sleeping during the day and becoming restless during the night
At this stage, the patient has an increased risk of wandering and becoming lost because they have no idea where they live or even how to get there.
The last stage is the most severe because the patient forgets just about everything including their physical movements like sitting, walking and eventually swallowing. They also forget their speech and will have a difficulty in communicating. Their cognitive and memory skills quickly fade away.
When Alzheimer’s Patients Remember
But sometimes, Alzheimer’s patients begin to remember especially their older memories. It is natural for a person to remember their most recent memories rather than their old memories. Alzheimer’s patients have it the other way round. Scientifically speaking, recent memories easily fade away because the condition in itself affects recent memories first. As a result, they have a difficulty in retaining new information.
On the other hand, older memories are well encoded because they have been processed for a longer period. It is sad that even these older memories will fade away in the end.
Situations where a patient remembers can be very uplifting for the family. But it can also be a challenging time because the patient tends to revert to their remote memories and their past. Family members usually have no idea on how to respond in such circumstances.
How To Help During Times Of Remembrance
When an Alzheimer’s patients begins to remember, those memories should not be ignored or suppressed. Family members and caregivers can try these therapies:
In validation therapy, you should not try to bring the patient back to reality. On the contrary, you should enter their reality. Build on trust and empathy and help them reduce their anxiety
With this therapy, you can discuss past activities, events and experiences that the patient remembers. You can use artefacts like photographs and music to help you. This therapy has been shown to increase the mood of dementia patients.
Alzheimer’s disease is really a forgetting disease where patients forget the essence of who they are.
In those moments they begin to remember, help them enjoy those memories because you never know when they will remember again.