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The biggest enemy of the person with memory loss is fatigue. People with brain diseases tire very easily -- because they have to concentrate so hard all the time. Try the following suggestions to prevent fatigue:

Give the person a rest both in the morning and the afternoon. This may be just a quiet period or an actual nap. If the person naps, have him/her sleep in an easy chair or the sofa so they know when they wake up that the rest period was a nap -- that it is not morning all over again!

If the person is waking at night DO NOT keep them up all day. Forcing them to stay up all day can make the night wakening worse!

Avoid foods and beverages with caffeine.
Try decaffeinated coffees, teas, colas, and pops containing no caffeine

If you are planning a social activity or trip, make sure the patient is well-rested both before and after the trip. Many families make the mistake of trying to accomplish too much during a day. Travel for a while, then stop and rest.
Get to know the patient's "best time of day."

Use that time to visit friends, go to the doctor or dentist, or travel Plan activities that are of a shorter duration. Instead of cleaning the house in a single day, spread the chores across several days to prevent the person from becoming overtired.

During holiday gatherings or special occasions such as weddings or reunions -- when the person is away from home -- plan in advance a place and times when he/she can get away to rest during the activity. Many patients go through a period where they sleep a great deal.

If this happens, check for depression or boredom. If neither is present and the person is still sleeping at night, understand it is normal for the illness. This is a good time for you, the caregiver, to get things done, catch up on your rest, or indulge your own interests.

Supported by: Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation,
National Caregiving Training Project,
University of Iowa College of Nursing,
Gerontology Nursing Intervention Center
Research Development and intervention Core

Developed by: Geri R. Hall, Ph.D., ARNP, CNS
Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale
13400 E. Shea Boulvard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
Phone: 602-301-8111


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