A monthly article brought to you by Senior Services Memory Support Programs
Cognitive changes in any form, can present challenges due to decreasing the individual’s thinking and judgment abilities. To “save face”, people with dementia often pretend to know answers to questions, even if they really do not know. This often hides the severity of the disease and may increase some frustration for the people who care for them. The act of pretending to know answers to keep up appearances is referred to as “saving appearance responses” (SARs).
In addition, to answering questions incorrectly, people living with cognitive change may prefer to answer “No” when asked a question. For example, “Would you like to go for a walk today?” When answering in this manner, it is also a form of SARs. It is much easier for the person to respond with “No” and allows them the feeling of being in control. This can prevent loved ones from seeing possible challenges as the person might not be able to complete a simple task due to cognitive changes.
People with dementia will do better if they feel good about themselves. Help them to save face when they make mistakes. If they are trying to say something and they cannot remember it, you can identify with it by saying, “That’s happened to me before! We will have to come back to that later.” Of course, make sure they have enough time to answer your question first. It may take someone with dementia longer to express an idea than it used to.
When you start to notice memory changes, seeking early detection is key. Senior Services offers an array of memory support programs including confidential memory screenings to obtain a cognitive baseline, early memory loss programs, consultations and educational classes along with support from Seasons Adult Day Health Services. If you or someone you know is experiencing increasing changes with their memory and could benefit from additional services, please contact Amy Sheridan, Family Support and Activity Manager at 989-633-3764.
Check out our section, Our Mind Matters, next month as we discuss sundowning.