If You Have a Loved One Living With Dementia, Have them Write Their Memories in a Journal

Many diseases cause dementia. Although most people are familiar with Alzheimer’s, it’s not the only cause of memory loss, confusion, and other dementia symptoms. Dementia symptoms can have multiple causes, which is known as “mixed” dementia. 

As a caregiver, it’s important to understand as much as possible about the causes and symptoms of your loved one’s dementia. By increasing your understanding, you can better cope with their condition and do what you can to preserve their memories and independence for as long as possible, even if they are unable to live alone. 

The Rise of Dementia

The United States is experiencing a boom in the number of senior citizens. Between 2020 and 2030, the number of people 65 and older is projected to grow about 17-20%. Because dementia primarily affects senior citizens, we can expect to see a need for senior mental health services and caregivers grow in the coming decade. 

Because professional memory care is extremely expensive, many family members find themselves tasked with helping their loved ones who are suffering from dementia symptoms. If you’re a caregiver, you know just how exhausting, heartbreaking, and difficult this task can be. 

However, being a caregiver gives you the opportunity to help your loved one preserve their quality of life for as long as possible. You might also have a chance to help them preserve important memories your family will cherish. Having a loved one living with dementia write down their memories in a journal is a great way to help with both of these goals. Research shows that health informatics can help with caregiver decision making as seniors get older.

How Writing Memories Helps With Dementia

Keeping the brain active is extremely important for reducing memory decline. Reading is a great tool for this, with studies indicating that reading can reduce the decline by up to 30%. Looking at books with pictures can be especially helpful for people with dementia symptoms. 

Writing is also an effective memory aid. Having your loved one journal gets them into the regular practice of using their brain and boosting their cognition. If they are having trouble with their memories, see if you can use pictures to help them remember. 

Not only will journaling keep the brain active, but it also serves as a reminder. Even if your loved one gets to the point of being unable to read, you could read their journal entries back to them, helping them to remember key memories from their life. 

Other Memory Aids For Those With Dementia

Even though there’s still a lot we don’t know about dementia, there are some memory tools you can use with your loved one to help them maintain their cognitive abilities. Simple things like calendars, newspapers, and shopping lists are great ways to help aid your loved one’s memory. 

You can also use color-coded reminders, electronic tools, and even rhyming phrases to help them remember crucial information. Depending on how advanced your loved one’s symptoms are, you can use different memory devices. 

Even people whose dementia has progressed significantly can benefit from memory aids. Photo books will help them remember good times and bring you closer together. Music is also a great reminder and connection tool. 

Preserve Important Memories 

When someone develops dementia, it is a tragedy for them and for their loved ones. Precious memories and independence gradually disappear and caregivers have few tools for preventing the decline. If your loved one has begun to show dementia symptoms, the time to start preserving important memories should start right away. 

People with dementia often remember things from the distant past better than more recent memories. Most people enjoy talking about their past and reminiscing. You might be able to learn more about your family history or your loved one’s life through these conversations and journal entries. 

It’s hard to watch someone decline due to dementia. But having these conversations and journaling together can help you connect and remember all that your loved one was and still is.

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