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The holidays are upon us

Tips for Planning the Holidays When a Loved One Has Dementia

The holidays are upon us, and that means great food, family and friends. Not to mention some much-needed rest and relaxation from the everyday grind. But for families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the holidays can be challenging. All it takes is a little planning and you can make the holidays memorable, even unforgettable occasions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are several ways to make everything flow smoothly:
Tips for Holiday Planning if someone has Dementia:

Familiarize others with the situation

The holidays are full of emotions, so it can help to let guests know what to expect before they arrive. If the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, relatives and friends might not notice any changes. But the person with dementia may have trouble following conversation or tend to repeat him, or herself. Family can help with communication by being patient, not interrupting or correcting, and giving the person time to finish his or her thoughts. If the person is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, there may be significant changes in cognitive abilities since the last time a relative or out-of-town friend visited. These changes may be hard to accept. Make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person.

Adjust expectations

  1. Call a meeting to discuss upcoming plans. The stress of caregiving responsibilities layered with holiday traditions can take a toll. Invite family and friends to a face-to-face meeting, or if geography is an obstacle, set up a telephone conference call. Make sure everyone understands your caregiving situation and has realistic expectations about what you can do. Be honest about needs and limitations.
  2. Be good to yourself. Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage.
  3. Do a variation on a theme. If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, consider changing a holiday dinner into a holiday lunch or brunch. If you do keep the celebration at night, keep the room well-lit and try to avoid any known triggers.

Get more ideas and information here how to celebrate the holidays with an aging loved one:   Adapting Family Traditions for an Aging Loved One
Source: https://www.brightstarcare.com/blog/tips-for-planning-around-the-holidays-with-dementia
BrightStar Care of Charlotte, NC provides a full continuum of home care services comprised of companionship, personal care, dementia care, transportation, medication assistance, skilled nursing and more to improve LGBT clients’ health and quality of life.  

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