When Your Loved One Forgets Your Name
A symptom of degenerative neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s, is memory loss. Sometimes, your loved one may forget who you are. This can be a devastating experience to live through. This experience may raise feelings of hopelessness in you. You may ask, “Why bother visiting if they do not remember me? Why go through the pain?” and “How could it be possible that your spouse, mother, or father forgets you completely?” The first thing to recognize is that the cause of this is the disease and not them. The second thing is to remember that not all may be lost. In this blog, we will go through some helpful information to keep in mind so you can show your loved one the care and attention they need as they experience greater memory loss.
- Don’t give up: Keep putting in the effort to care for your loved one with love and sensitivity. Many people who have diseases like Alzheimer’s may forget those around them, but that does not mean they aren’t happy to see you. It can be quite the opposite, maintaining regular visitations if they are in a nursing home or spending time with them at home can make a huge difference in their day.
- All may not be lost: While your loved one may not remember you upon first sight, or they may have trouble recollecting your name, they may just need more sensory cues to evoke deep memories within them. For instance, it could be the sound of your voice, the way you give them a hug, the smell of your perfume or cologne, etc. that can spark a memory. We are not saying it’s easy, we are saying that you should not give up hope so quickly. You may be surprised at what your loved one can recall.
- Continue caring for them with love: Continue to show them the care and compassion that you’ve showed them throughout the early stages of their disease. In other words, do not treat them as if they cannot understand what is going on around them. The tone of your voice, the way you look at your loved one, and the way you look at them can make a difference in your loved one’s mood and behavior.
- Try to help them remember: A helpful way to try and engage your loved one’s mind and memory is to create a photo timeline for them. This entails searching through old photos of your loved one’s life and arranging them in chronological order. For example, if you are a son or daughter of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, then you can find old photos of yourself from childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and beyond to reconstruct a photographic life history. Or if you are married to your loved one, you can find old photos from the time your first met your loved one, your wedding, and throughout your lives together. Remember to include a recent photograph of yourself with your name underneath it.
This timeline can help your loved one recall past events. Often, Alzheimer’s affects most recent memories, so your loved one may indeed remember his or her children and spouse but not be able to recognize them now. The photographic timeline can help them follow their life history leading to the present. This technique may not work for everyone, but the act of looking at photos can still be a mentally stimulating activity for your loved one in any case.
Being a family caregiver is very hard. Not just because of the responsibilities that come with it, but because of the emotional attachments that you often feel when caring for your loved one. We want to let you know that ElderCare at Home is here for you. If you have any questions or need help, please give us a call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!