Insights from a Dementia Specialist: Choosing to be a Caregiver

I know how scary it may feel to not remember things well, and I can only imagine what you might feel like when you believe that you won't remember your loved ones.

And I am sorry you are experiencing these emotions and fears. Let me answer your question to the best of my abilities. Since I have not had dementia or memory loss myself, I can only answer from 30 years of experience with working with people with dementia as an occupational therapist and dementia specialist.

You asked will you remember your family and friends, or will you forget them like you are forgetting other things.

It will depend on 3 things primarily.

What type of dementia you may have. Each type has different characteristics and different parts of the brain that are affected. It will depend on how long you have had dementia, and how long you live.

It may depend on what you are actively doing right now to keep your brain engaged instead of waiting to see what happens. There is much research on cognitive stimulation therapy and working on maximizing nutrition and exercising to keep your body and brain healthy. But that goes for everyone, right! Me included.

And lastly, it may depend on the strategies you work on putting into place right now. There are apps like "My Life Talks" and other apps like "Memory Vaults" that you can start building your memories in, so that you can revisit them if you should not be able to remember.

Whenever I don't take the time to take care of myself, and whenever I don't eat well or exercise both my body and my mind, I also don't remember as well.

But if you actively work on doing what you can to engage your body, mind and soul I do believe you can help decrease the risk of not remembering your loved ones.

But I also know from years of doing this, if you have developed good relationships with your family and you have spent quality time together, you may not remember a name, but you will remember the feelings.

Your family knows you love them, and keep telling them now. Build up the emotional feelings, because all people when they cannot "remember" with their brain CAN and DO remember with their Heart.

Lizette a dementia caregiving

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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