Health Matters: Talking About Memory Loss

Fifty million people suffer from dementia worldwide…but many continue to go undiagnosed.

When it comes to memory loss, many people just don’t want to acknowledge it.

But starting the conversation is the first step to get the help you or your loved one needs.
Diane Hughes has always been close with her father.

So when she noticed something wasn’t quite right she knew it was time for a difficult conversation.
“And about 10 minutes later he asked me the same thing. Worded the same way and I thought well you know he’s not really paying attention; he’s working a crossword puzzle and then about 10 minutes later he asked me again,” says daughter of Memory Care patient, Diane Hughes.
Diane knew it was time to get help and that’s where Clarrisa comes in.
“Up to the loved ones and people that are with you on a day to day basis to recognize those changes,” says Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Clarissa Dumdei.
Clarrisa is Diane’s Father’s provider at Essentia’s Memory Care Clinic.

A center dedicated to providing care for people experiencing memory loss.
“She sat him down next to a phone and a phone book and said I want you to call and find out the price of a gallon of white paint,” says Hughes.
While memory will never improve for people with dementia, Diane has noticed her dad is still there, holding on.

And for that she’s grateful.
“For a community the size of Detroit Lakes to have a program like this dedicated to memory care take advantage of it. It’s here,” says Hughes.
“That awareness isn’t there anymore so it becomes important for family members, loved ones, caregivers to recognize their loved one’s strength and weaknesses and plan ahead accordingly,” says Dumdei.
It can be like riding a roller coaster.
“It’s emotional and I’ve cried more than once not in front of him,” says Hughes.
And that’s why getting help is more important than ever.
“Without talking about it, it’s just going to keep coming and keep coming and really there’s help,” says Dumdei.
Clarrisa says if you notice changes in your loved one, try visiting your primary care provider and explain to them what you’re seeing because again, getting help is the first step in dealing with memory loss.

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