Forgetfulness and Dementia

At times, we all forget details like where we placed our keys or we forget to buy an item on our grocery list. This is normal. Regardless of age, when we are feel stressed or fatigued it is not uncommon to forget details. As a result, many of us develop techniques to aid our memory including checklists, calendars, and “to do lists”.

As people age, the amount of time it takes to learn and retain new information may increase in duration. However, with time and patience normal functioning older adults will be able to retain and recall this new information.

Many older adults are fearful of memory loss. Research shows that there are steps one can take to promote a healthy brain. The Alzheimer’s Association offers the following tips.

Healthy Brain Tips:

Eat healthily: Lean towards foods rich in anti-oxidants and folic acid as well as water and fruit juice. Avoid fatty foods, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages.

  • Stay active: Find activities that exercise your body and your brain.
  • Support system: Maintain a good support system that allows for social interaction.
  • Rest, relax, and sleep: Stress and lack of sleep can have negative effects on your body. Maintain balance within your life.
  • Visit your doctor: Annual physicals allow you to talk with your doctor, ask questions, and monitor your health and medications.

When memory loss becomes more significant

For some, memory loss can be more significant. When memory loss begins to interfere with day-to-day functioning the problem may be a warning sign of something more. For example:

  • Difficulty managing medications
  • Significant weight loss due to missed meals
  • Frequent hospitalizations due to noncompliance with medication regime
  • Inability to organize finances, overdrawn accounts, and vulnerability to scams
  • Disorganized household, decreased cleanliness
  • Failure to meet deadlines at work

Family, friends, and acquaintances should take note when a significant change in skill, routine, or behavior occurs. For example:

  • An accountant who can no longer add 2+2
  • A computer programmer who cannot remember how to turn on the computer

It is important to note that any one of the issues mentioned above alone does not signify memory loss. Instead, it offers a “red flag” which warrants additional attention and investigation.

What to do if memory loss is suspected?

Whenever memory loss is suspected the first step is to see a physician. Your primary physician can refer you to a specialist who can work to identify the cause of the memory loss. Generally, your physician may refer you to a neurologist, internist, and/or a psychiatrist.

Why is a physician visit needed?

Memory loss can have numerous causes. Some medical conditions when left untreated can result in increased confusion and memory loss. As a result, an individual could be diagnosed inaccurately with a form of dementia when, in fact, they may have a medical condition such as a thyroid problem, lack of Vitamin B12, a medication/drug reaction, infection, or depression. A physician will complete a battery of tests to identify any treatable conditions and recommend treatment if appropriate.

If the memory loss and confusion are due to a medical condition, when treated the individual may notice a decrease or elimination of symptoms.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.

Mother’s Day at Parks’ Place During a Pandemic

Mother’s Day was a tough but joyful day for our moms and their families.  It was a tough day as we were physically distant from our loved ones, but joyful as we found other ways to connect and show our love.

Feeling Loss

During this time, all of us are feeling loss.  Loss of birthday parties, sporting events, graduations, and loss of spending time with our mothers on Mother’s Day.  Each moment spent together is precious, even more so in memory care as dementia creates an unpredictable future. 

Bitter-sweet, but more sweet than bitter

We knew from the start that this would be a tough day for our residents and their families.  We decided to have a staff member totally dedicated to our moms on Mother’s Day.  Our families were informed that we would be able to facilitate virtual visits, flower and gift delivery, and anything else in-between for their moms on Mother’s Day.  Our virtual visit schedule filled quickly and families informed us of when they would be stopping by with gifts.

On Mother’s Day the virtual visits were bitter-sweet, but more sweet than bitter.  While it was tough for our moms and their families to not be with each other physically, technology like FaceTime and Zoom helped us to feel connected. 

The virtual visits were full of smiles, laughter, and happy tears.  Our staff was brought to tears frequently during the visits at the outpouring of love from the families to their moms.  Many of our mothers showed their loved ones the gift and flower deliveries they received.  But the gifts and flowers were mainly afterthoughts, our moms were really only interested in spending time with their families and seeing their smiling faces.  The time together was truly what brought the most joy to the day.

From Parks’ Place to our moms

Parks’ Place also wanted to show our moms how much we love them so we had a flower delivery for each of them with a card.  We also had a special Mother’s Day treat at lunchtime.  The final thing we did with each of our moms was actually more of a gift to their family.  We made a video of each mother saying what they loved best about being a mom and sent it to their family.  For our mothers whose dementia is a little more advanced we made simpler videos saying thank you for the gifts and cards.  Our families did not know we were making the videos and were so surprised when they received them.

A heartfelt day

Although this was not the Mother’s Day anyone would wish for, it turned out to be a pretty wholesome and heartfelt day.  Our moms were able to spend time with those who call them “mom” and felt their love and support even at a distance.

We are hoping that Mother’s Day 2021 we can welcome all of our families into our home and celebrate with them in-person!

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.

WCCO-TV Features Parks’ Place Memory Care

Parks’ Place: Memory Care Redefined was featured on WCCO recently, sharing the extraordinary journey of the Parks family, who built Parks’ Place after their husband and father received a diagnosis of Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s. Our care community can accommodate 36 residents and offers a meaningfully planned environment and programming that focuses on abilities rather than disabilities—along with staff members who are passionate about providing highly personalized care to the people they serve.