Mom's worst problem is memory. Any ideas to help her out?

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I wonder if a bulletin board might help w/ reminder and orient her to day and date. she lives w/ my sister. My mom can care for self. She is 92. Has rooms on lower level of sister's house. I live nearby so can bring her some meals but my sister makes sure she eats well. Her biggest problem is memory loss and confusion. I want to help keep her oriented as to day and date. We talk daily and she seems very frustrated when forgetting names etc. I thought a bulletin board might help. Anyone have an idea to help my wonderful mother? Due to disability I can't drive but still visit weekly bringing fruit and small meals.

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A memory or dementia clock in conjunction with a large wall calendar (Office Depot or staples) will be great help. Just a calendar is of no use if the person is confused as to what month and day it is.
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A lot of great ideas and I love the white board idea. Just sold my mom's house and move to a rental, it became too much for me to handle with a pool and yard and her. I am so happy now being here and trying to make her happy which I think is coming along great. I have a cat and dog that keeps her entertained and the board will help with feeding them when I ESCAPE for a couple hours to know who I am again. Love this web site and everyone on it....I know I'm not alone, Linda
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Thanks GardenArtist will give that some thought.
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Glassgirl, you might also try to think in terms of the standard "orientation x3 (or 4)". If you can focus on ways to orient Mom to time, place, date (and I would add people), then you work at the base of the memory issues rather than just try to compensate for them.

I've read that one of the techniques of breaking prisoners is sensory deprivation - putting them in dark rooms with no windows, creating scenarios in which they can't even tell what time it is or where they are. I think that must sometimes be how people with memory loss and/or dementia feel. No wonder they're confused and upset.

If you figure out some approaches, please post back; I'm working on this myself.
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Thanks for the feedback on a whiteboard. Simply knowing the day and date as well as upcoming events are helping immensely. It makes Mom feel powerless when she doesn't know what is coming up.
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MaggieMarshall, my parents house is also like a cave, but for them it has to do with their eyesight, they both has macular degeneration and apparently brightness bothers their eyes. But now that I think of it, even back when I was a child, Mom always closed up the blinds whenever the sun came in, she said it would fade the carpet and furniture.

Glassgirl, a bulletin board would be great.... in fact I use one for myself in the kitchen near the telephone, I have tacked up business cards of those who we call the most. Next to the bulletin board I have an extra large calendar, one that has bold easy to read dates where I can place small post-it-notes to remind me of appointments.

I've trying to get my parents to use the big calendars, but Mom prefer to use her desk top flip one day at a time calendar.... Dad never pays any attention to it so I have to constantly remind him of appointments, and he's the one that I just now noticing is having memory issues..... but he can sure remember back when he was a child.... I can't remember what I did last week :P
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Half the time I don't know what day it is, truth be told. A great big clock on the wall might help. But if she has even mild dementia, she probably can't tell time. (Mom has mild dementia. She can't read anymore and can't read the clock. I'm sure everyone is different though.) Here's a link to a "Day Clock" that gives the time as well as the day of the week. $39.95 -- Maybe helpful?

Make sure she's leaving her curtains/blinds open. Many older people shut up their houses like tombs as they get older. That's either out of fear or the mistaken belief that people can't wait to peer in their windows. Anyone peering in mom's windows would be struck blind sometimes. Good. Hahahahaha! If she won't leave them open, remove them. This should let ordinary daylight give her a valuable clue. If there are no windows in your sis's basement, I guess that won't help...but maybe there are.

I LOVE Semba's idea of an address book with pictures. That's pretty cool. Mom, with her mild dementia, can't dial the phone. *shrug*
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Yes, a white board is extremely helpful! My mother at 92 lived in the lower level of my sister's home. Sis updated a white board for her every day. Mom spent one weekend a month with me so I got a whiteboard, too, and updated it as my sister did. Mom really depended on that. I also put on there what was for dinner.

Mom for some reason was very focused on what time it was. We also kept a clock visible from where she sat, and I got one that protected the time on the ceiling over her bed.

Mom is now in a nursing home. We still write on her whiteboard.

GardenArtist, my mother loves crosswords. I'm going to look into the ones you mention.
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PHOTO ALBUMS, FLASH CARDS, MEMORY GAMES, PATIENCE.
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Those boards are very helpful.. You could also get a larger board, or one of the very, very large calendars for an overall view so that Mom can look ahead past that day.

We colored coded different activities - it was easier to spot a red entry, for example, that might mean a medical appointment vs. a green entry that meant a family member would be over to stay with her.

If any one who visits has a dog, paste a sticker of a dog on that day to represent that visit. And try to get neighbors, friends and family who have pets to stop by - pet therapy is great just for calming and soothing.

Get a large clock so she can orient herself by time.

Break days down into segments - morning, afternoon and evening, so there's less to remember.

Plan shorter activites, or breaks between activities as her mind will tire more easily. Break the activities into smaller segments if necessary. E.g., instead of baking a cake all at once, have her assemble the ingredients, take a break. Measure the dry ingredients, take a break, etc. Doing this will avoid overwhelming her concentration ability.

Try some crossword puzzles from Reminisce and Reminisce Extra - the puzzles focus on early 20th century life, Great Depression, WWII. My Dad remembers things from those eras and really enjoys working the puzzles.

I think I have some memory related activites listed in my caregiving manual from the Alzheimers course; I'll check and see if there are any other suggestions. I think there were also some websites listed for suggestions on memory building activity.
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