Cancer and cancer treatment come with all sorts of troublesome side effects. One side effect that many cancer patients complain about is a feeling of mental fogginess that makes it hard for them to think and can affect memory. This side effect is often referred to as “chemo brain.” Understanding chemo brain and what it’s like can help you to better care for your older family member during and after cancer treatment.
About Chemo Brain.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic call the term chemo brain “misleading.” The reason they say this is that chemotherapy probably isn’t the only thing that causes the problem, though it could be a contributing factor. Currently, the cause of chemo brain is still being researched. Some things that may contribute to chemo brain are:
• The stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis.
• Chemicals produced by certain kinds of cancers.
• The treatment itself, including chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplant, and others.
• Complications caused by cancer treatment, like anemia, infection, fatigue, or pain.
• Medications used for cancer-related symptoms.
The symptoms of chemo brain vary from one person to the next. Some things that may indicate chemo brain are:
• Being more disorganized than usual.
• Concentration problems.
• Communication problems, like trouble finding the right word to use.
• Having a hard time learning something new.
• A general feeling of mental fogginess.
• Problems multitasking.
• Poor short-term memory.
• A short attention span.
• Problems remembering the details of a conversation or visual images.
Most of the time a case of chemo brain happens suddenly and doesn’t last long. However, its severity and the length of time a person has to deal with it can be different from one person to the next. In some cases, chemo brain is a long-term problem. Chemo brain can make doing common tasks difficult and can even be disabling.
Dealing with Chemo Brain.
If your aging relative has chemo brain, senior care can help them to deal with it. A senior care provider can help them to take the following steps recommended by the American Cancer Society:
• Use a Daily Planner: Keeping reminders of appointments, phone numbers, lists, and other information all in one place will make staying organized easier.
• Keep the Brain Active: Doing things like crossword puzzles, playing games, or learning something new can help cut through some of the fog.
• Eat Healthy and Exercise: Eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise can improve mental clarity and support overall health, including brain health.
Senior care providers can help with these things by jotting notes in the planner as needed. They can also do crossword puzzles with the older adult or play games. If the senior wants to take some classes to learn something new, a senior care provider can drive them there. Finally, senior care providers can prepare healthy meals and snacks and increase the older adult’s activity around the home.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Liberty Lake, WA, please contact the friendly staff at Love in Home Senior Care, today. Call (509) 474-0663
His role in Love In Home Senior Care is to educate people on what care choice is the best fit for the senior and their family while attempting to make this decision as stress-free as possible for everyone involved.
This decision making process should be smooth and stress free for everyone, including all family members and their loved ones. Having access to people with experience (like the team at Love In Home Senior Care) to assist you along the way can help this process. With an extensive background in health care, Andy has the experience needed to guide and direct your loved one to the choice that is the best fit.
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