We have covered much over these past months and still there is so much we have not covered. I want to talk with you about MCI, Mild Cognitive Impairment. When we grow older, some may have more memory problems than other people the same age. People with MCI can care for themselves and normal activities are not difficult. When a person has the condition of MCI they may lose things often, tend to forget about appointments and have trouble finding words. MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease; that’s why it is very important to see your health care provider every 6 to 12 months. There is no treatment for MCI.
However, according to the National Institute on Aging you may want to keep your memory sharp. Here are some suggestions on keeping your memory sharp. This list is provided by the National Institute on Aging.
• Learn a new skill
• Get lots of rest
• Don’t drink a lot of alcohol
• Exercise and eat well
• Volunteer in your community, at a school, or at your place of worship
• Spend time with friends and family
• Put your wallet or purse, keys and glasses in the same place each day
• Get help if you feel depressed for weeks at a time
• Use memory tools such as big calendars, to-do list and notes to yourself.
All these suggestions are listed in a booklet provided by the National Institute on Aging. The name of the booklet is “Understanding Memory Loss.” I keep these booklets in my office and provide them for caregivers that come in with concerns about dementia. As the Family Caregiver Support Specialist with the Sampson County Department of Aging I strive to keep resources readily available for caregivers.
If you are a family living with Alzheimer’s disease you want to obtain all the information you can about this dreaded disease. Another booklet that I give out to families living with Alzheimer’s is “Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease.” This booklet covers understanding Alzheimer’s disease, coping with the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease, end of life care and much more. Knowledge is power! I make a great effort to provide as much information to families as I can.
Giving care to a person living with Alzheimer’s disease will influence high physical, emotional and financial costs. Day to day care demands, family roles changing and making decisions about placement in a facility will be difficult. Respite, Support Groups and being well-informed are very important strategies. Being a caregiver is a task that will test your abilities. Staying active physically and mentally are vital to the health and well-being of a caregiver. Caregivers, many times I have shared ways for you to care for yourself. Please, please take care of yourself!! I have had the opportunity to fly many times. I recall when the flight attendant reviews the oxygen mask procedure. You first help yourself and then you will be able to assist others. This perspective is one with great measure, and certainly applies to the role of a caregiver. The Family Caregiver Program can help with respite when funds are available. Respite is a short period of rest or relief from something difficult. I encourage all to take a time of respite. Everybody at some point in the course of the day needs a time of respite.
Please be reminded about the “Advanced Directives Workshop” scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Bellamy Center. The workshop will be held 9:30-11:30 so plan to have lots of fun. We will have refreshments and door prizes! RSVP by 02/12. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”.
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.