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Living with Alzheimer’s: Prolonging Memories

by Joe Lawrence November 16th, 2018 | Aging Well, Health Observance
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NotebookImagine hearing that you have Alzheimer’s. The fear of losing memories, the fear of forgetting those around you, and the fear of losing the ability to do everyday things you have come to enjoy. There are a few things that can be done to prolong these precious moments.

The one thing that people fear losing the most (after a love one, of course) is the family photos. This is because they are the precious memories of children eating birthday cake or wedding photos or even that loved one whom meant the world to you. If you think about what is in those photo albums at this very moment, you will remember a lot of the event just by tapping into your memory bank. However, if you look through that album, you will see so many pictures and things you forgot about. ¬†In reality, Alzheimer’s is losing all of those memories in a fire without the ability to ever retrieve them.

The mind works in a weird way to where the most recent memories are lost first and the long-term memories slowly fade away. Alzheimer’s sufferers resort back to earlier memories and actually live them out as if they are happening. For example, grandma may be talking to you but thinks that you are her brother at the same age. Research shows that in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s she actually knows she is having an episode.

One way to make memories last is to record and repeat them. Keeping a journal of things that happen and have happened are a great way to keep the memories secured. Talking to  grandpa, you can really delve into his thoughts and his past. By interviewing him you can recount the major things that have happened and talk about them often with him. Start with the most recent years and work backwards. This has actually been thought to prolong the memories and stall the disease.

Another avenue that many people do not consider and is one that can really keep memories fresh is a biography about the person. There are people who “ghost-write” for a living and will interview grandpa or work off of the information you give him and create a book about the life and times of grandpa. It would be a great way to help to recount the memories with family and help him remember them even more. You could turn to a named professional author too, but is often more costly.

There is no sure-fire way to beat Alzheimer’s at this time, but we can help make the lives of our loved ones better. By discussing memories recent and old we can keep them fresh longer. By getting a ghost-writer or professional author, you can record and enjoy these precious memories together for years.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.