- Posted December 19, 2013 by
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Holiday Tips for Families Dealing With Alzheimer's or Dementia
The holiday season is a time when many reminisce and share fond memories of family and friends. It is a time for families to come together, and if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may need to apply an extra dose of patience when it comes to holiday traditions. The best way to help someone dealing with memory loss during this time is to omit stress, involve easy tasks, look through old photo albums and have realistic expectations.
“Alzheimer’s disease currently affects about 340,000 Texans, and I have personally watched a family member battle with this disease,” said Gay Garrett, admissions and outreach coordinator for health services at The Village at Gleannloch Farms. “The holidays are an especially difficult time for those living with Alzheimer’s, so make sure to give them extra love and patience this year, and take time to prepare yourself mentally so you’re not let down.”
Garrett offers many tips that can help families that have loved ones with Alzheimer’s:
• If taking a loved one out of the normal environment is disruptive or creates anxiety, consider an intimate gathering at home with minimal stimulation to omit stress.
• If a loved one wants to go shopping during the holidays, shop during off times when there are fewer people or crowds.
• Create activities your family can enjoy together—give your loved one wrapping paper and tape to wrap gifts, decorate pine cones, bake bread or cookies and go through old photo albums together. Customize activities for your loved one, and embrace the outcome, even if the activities may not go as planned.
• Wandering is a major risk factor during the holidays as families visit and spend time together. Loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia have a greater potential to wander off in an unfamiliar environment.
“I encourage families to have a plan for the holidays,” said Garrett. “It is imperative to tweak your normal holiday traditions to make it easier on yourself and your loved one battling memory loss. Many can end up disappointed when they do not alter their long-standing traditions, and they inevitably change or have become too difficult for their loved one to participate or remember.”