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What Forms of Memory Are Affected by Alzheimer’s?

By , 9:00 am on

Seniors with Alzheimer’s frequently forget familiar people, places, and things, especially as the disease progresses. The neurological condition causes significant damage to brain cells, increasing the risk of memory loss. Continue reading to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and the types of memory it affects.

Short-Term Memory

When short-term memory is impacted, seniors may have difficulty remembering things that happened in the previous couple of hours or days. For example, your aging loved one could forget what he or she ate for breakfast this morning. Some people associate these types of memory lapses with normal aging, but you should take your loved one to the doctor if you notice a pattern of mishaps related to short-term memory. Early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the condition and boost your loved one’s cognitive abilities.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, help is just a phone call away. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Oshkosh in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Episodic Memory

Damage to the part of the brain responsible for episodic memory makes it difficult to connect specific memories to special times from the past. For example, your loved one may forget what he or she wore to his or her senior prom, even if he or she had discussed the occasion a few days before. Detailed memories of significant life events may begin to fade over time, which can be difficult for both you and your loved one. Continue to show your loved one family photos and home videos to boost his or her mood, regardless of whether any memories are triggered.

Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of highly trained professional caregivers. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Semantic Memory

Understanding the meanings of various words and phrases is a part of semantic memory. For example, you can say the word “family,” and your loved one can declare what it means. However, when Alzheimer’s prevents the brain from functioning normally, the semantic memory decreases, reducing language and communication abilities. In these instances, you need to remain calm and give your loved one a brief explanation of certain words and phrases. You can also use photos and flash cards to provide clarity and insight.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory allows your loved one to perform everyday actions, such as riding a bike, cooking a family recipe, or reading a book. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, procedural memory begins to decrease. The ability to do familiar things is affected, regardless of how simple the tasks are. Encourage your loved one to continue enjoying his or her hobbies, and find ways to make the activities less challenging. You may need to explain the instructions multiple times, but the objective is to engage your parent and find ways to keep him or her happy. The steps should be short, clear, and concise. Allow your loved one to complete each task at his or her own pace instead of rushing him or her and increasing the risk of combative behavior. 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s have much to gain when their families opt for professional Alzheimer’s care. Oshkosh families can rely on compassionate and dedicated caregivers to help their elderly loved ones manage the various challenges of Alzheimer’s disease so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. Call Home Care Assistance at (920) 710-2273 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.