If you're looking to improve memory and cognitive function for someone you love with dementia, here are a few tips.
Supplements to Start Using
· Add Fish Oil – Fish oil has positive effects on cognitive functioning. There are possible benefits on the brain health and aging according to the researchers at Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease & Memory Disorders Center.
· Add Acetylcholine supplements, or medications that slow the breakdown of this neurotransmitter. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “a decrease in acetylcholine may be responsible for some of the cognition deficits in Alzheimer's disease” and “patients taking medications that slow the breakdown of this neurotransmitter have experienced improvements in memory.”
Supplements to Stop Using
· Phosphatidylserine – According to Dr. Glen Smith at the Mayo Clinic, the early studies that showed health benefits with this supplement were only when the supplement was derived from the brain cells of cows. Mad cow disease concerns led to developing the supplements form soy or cabbage and the plant-based versions have not been researched enough to prove results.
· Ginkgo Biloba – According to Dr. Brent Bauer at the Mayo Clinic, a 2009 issue “of the Journal of American Medical Association, found no evidence that ginkgo biloba prevents memory loss or slows the progression of cognitive decline in older adults.”
Therapeutic/Memory Triggering Activities
· Decorate the place to resemble a past era, like Belfair Gardens did with a 1940s makeover to help Alzheimer's patients go for a walk down memory lane.
· Play DVDs that focus on past eras, like the Living Memories Archive is making for fostering “The stimulation of the memories of dementia patients, which help to provide new topics for conversation.”
· Add Music Therapy - According to research by Willamette University posted on the US National Library of Medicine, music therapy has a “possible beneficial effect on symptoms including social, emotional and cognitive skills and for decreasing behavioral problems of individuals with dementias.”
· Add “training and practice in problem-solving skills, memory techniques, and other cognitive strategies” to help improve their abilities according to “Aging Concepts and Controversies” by Sasser and Moody (page 23).
· Group people together to let others help “compensate for cognitive losses through a social process dubbed ‘interactive minds’ or ‘collaborative cognition’” (Sasser & Moody, p. 24.) whereby one person helps to fill in the gaps of another person’s memory when recalling things.