One side effect of chemotherapy that young and older patients face is something called chemo brain. It’s a type of brain fog that isn’t permanent, but it can be upsetting. If your senior is nearing the end of her life and is dealing with chemo brain, she can feel even more uncomfortable about what is to come.
Use a Planner of Some Sort
Using a planner, calendar, or even a smartphone calendar can help your senior to feel more in control of her memory and her environment. Even if she’s merely keeping up with what day it is, that can give her an anchor when she’s feeling a bit unmoored. Having a planner or calendar of some sort can also help her to keep her brain engaged.
Keep That Brain Active
Like any muscle, the more your senior uses her brain the more it will work for her. Puzzles, games, or other things that challenge your senior’s brain can help her to keep her brain in shape for when the chemo fog lifts. Try to incorporate activities that your senior enjoys so that this isn’t a hardship for her. Reading your senior’s favorite books together can also be a way to help her keep her brain going.
Encourage Plenty of Rest
Your senior’s brain and body both need plenty of rest to deal with what she’s been through. Encourage her to sleep or to rest as often as she needs to. That may feel odd for her at first, especially if she’s been trying to be more active and to avoid sleeping all the time. For now, her body may need the rest.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
Multitasking is difficult enough for someone who isn’t dealing with big side effects from powerful treatments. Encourage your senior to avoid multitasking. Sticking with just one thing at a time is much easier on her and her brain than if she’s trying to keep up with too many things all at once. When the chemo brain does fade again, she can go back to multitasking if that’s what she wants to do.
There’s no exact timeframe for your senior to recover from chemo brain or any of the other effects of chemotherapy. Hospice care providers can help your elderly family member to stay as comfortable as possible while she recovers. They can also help you to learn more about how you can help to ease her discomfort.
If you or an aging parent are considering hospice care in Allentown, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.