Feeling forgetful, foggy, or confused during chemotherapy treatment is not at all uncommon. In fact, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that more than 80 percent of chemotherapy patients report a link between chemo and memory loss that may continue for months after treatment is finished.
These side effects, commonly called “chemo brain” or “chemo brain fog,” can naturally be extremely frustrating for cancer patients. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to help deal with cancer memory loss and confusion.
To continue to be able to carry out day-to-day tasks, it’s important to stick to a routine. Establish specific places to keep important items like wallet, keys, and cell phone, so that you or your loved one don’t have to deal with the frustration of forgetting where items were left last. Make lists of important things to remember—which medications to take, which items to buy at the store, where the car was parked, and more, and make sure these lists are displayed in a prominent and consistent location, like a white board in the kitchen. For information that is needed on the go, you can photograph the white board with a cell phone, to always have a reference point.
In addition, a shared online calendar or organizer, created through a Google Calendar or Teamup , can help you and your loved one stay aligned on important dates, by setting-up reminders for upcoming appointments, celebrations, and meetings.
Puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, even brain-teaser game apps, can be a great way to ensure you or your loved one is getting some mental exercise. You can also pick up a new hobby or attend a lecture, learn a new skill or language, or exercise your latest skill through apps or tactile experiences. Community colleges, senior centers, and libraries are all great resources for interesting classes and events to help get started.
Physical exercise can sharpen alertness and reduce fatigue, plus it gives an endorphin rush. Offer to take daily walks together, join a dance class together, hit the golf course, or find other ways to stay active. As an added bonus, just thirty minutes of exercise a day will also help your loved one catch some deep sleep—another essential way to stave off memory problems.
Chemo brain fog is just one of the multiple unexpected hurdles that can come along with cancer treatment. For many, the tips above may prove to not be enough to overcome all memory-related issues and additional precautions, such as securing in-home care, may become necessary. Unfortunately, for many families this type of care, as well the cost of other memory impairment resources, may feel cost-prohibitive. Fifth Season Financial’s innovative Funds for Living and Giving Program is designed to offer you or your loved one access to unrestricted funds to use as they deem appropriate. If you believe Fifth Season Financial’s FLAG Program may be of help to your family, .
Relieve financial stress with the FLAG Program, a viatical alternative that uses your life insurance for a cash advance