Tips for Helping Your Senior Cope with "Chemo-brain"
November 20, 2018There are many side effects elderly adults who are living with cancer can experience as a result of the disease itself or the treatments they undergo in order to fight it. As a family caregiver, recognizing these side effects, and understanding how they are impacting your senior, can help you to best devise an approach to care and support that allows them to cope with these effects and maintain their quality of life. While most of these side effects are related to physical health, if your aging loved one is undergoing chemotherapy to deal with their cancer, they may experience another effect known as chemo-brain. This term is used to describe the confusion, mental fogginess, and diminished functioning that can occur while your senior is undergoing chemotherapy. This can be frustrating and upsetting for your parent, but there are ways you can help. Elder Care in Palo Alto CA: Coping with "Chemo-Brain"Use these tips to help your senior cope with chemo-brain:
- Remind them that this is the result of their treatment, and it does not mean they are "stupid" or have "lost it."
- Encourage your parent to write notes or record messages on a device so they can remind themselves of tasks, appointments, lists, and more.
- Utilize a large, easily visible calendar to keep tasks and obligations organized.
- Create a set schedule for their daily life, and encourage your parent to follow it specifically. This helps to create a predictable routine in their mind that they are more likely to remember and follow without as much guidance. It also helps them to feel more secure and in control.
- Make sure your parent is getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is detrimental to all people, but it can be particularly problematic for those dealing with chemo-brain.
- Encourage your parent to continue stimulating their mind. Learning new things, doing puzzles, playing games, and otherwise keeping their brain active can strengthen it and reduce the effect of chemo-brain.
- When your parent is doing important tasks, having conversations, or engaging in a favorite hobby, encourage them to avoid distractions, be in a quiet place, and focus entirely on this specific thing.