Whatever we’re feeling as caregivers can be transferred to someone with Alzheimer’s disease.  
Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN

You may recall that Maya Angelou said something along the lines of “people will forget what you say, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Well, there’s a reason for that and that’s what I’m going to talk about today. 

We can all use the concept of emotional memories to make new memories or to recall old ones. We can create moments that last a lifetime around positive feelings and boost our overall mental health – and if you are a caregiver for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease, understanding how emotions can impact your interactions is key. 

Take a deeper dive at how emotions, memory, and Alzheimer’s disease are interlinked in this another valuable of This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards An Age-Friendly World. Tune in to Episode 108: Emotions, Memory, and Alzheimer’s Disease, and together let’s strive to make this world a better place for older adults. 

Key points covered in this episode:  

️ Memories Attached to Emotions are Stronger 

Emotions are tied to memories. In fact, memories tied to strong feelings, whether positive or negative, tend to last longer and don’t fade as fast or disappear as quickly.  

✔️ A Person with Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease may Mimic the Emotions Of Those Around Them 

In Alzheimer’s disease, emotions remain intact. Hence, they will lose the ability to use and understand language, but our nonverbal behavior often communicates how we’re feeling. As a result, even a person with very advanced Alzheimer’s disease will be able to pick up on their emotional state. So whatever we feel as caregivers can still be sensed by a person with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, whether we wanted them to or not.  

✔️ Maintain a Positive And Happy Emotional State When Caring For Older Adults  

Whatever our emotional state is will be mirrored back to us by the person we’re caring for. So as a caregiver, make sure that your emotional state is more on the positive side to having more positive interactions with the person you’re caring for. 

✔️ The Link Between Emotions and Memories 

How you feel at any given moment impacts what you think about and vice versa. If you’re in a positive mood, you’re more likely to think about and recall positive memories. If we are in a negative mindset, we tend to recall and think about more negative things, and either of these tendencies can be self-perpetuating.  

The good news is that you can control what you think about. If you find yourself in a bad mood, try thinking about a fun or positive experience until your mood improves. Moreover, by focusing on feelings, you will have an easier time finding your way back to that memory later. 

✔️ Learn How to Tap into Music to Improve Your Emotional State  

Music impacts our emotional state, and it has a powerful way of altering anybody’s mood. Playing a person’s favorite song is a great way to lighten their mood, and it also gives you another chance to interact positively. Who knows, maybe both of you will get up and dance!

If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.  

More Resources About Memory And Alzheimer’s Disease …

This Is Getting Old has several other episodes about memory and Alzheimer’s. You can check them out below:

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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