Tips for the Holidays
A few Tips for the Holiday from the Alzheimer’s Association
The person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t always have a joyful experience when the Holiday Season arrives. They view flashing lights, bustling crowds and a noisy shopping mall with fear. Large parties with lots of people can be frightening.
The Alzheimer’s Association presents the “Lunch and Learn” program in many cities to help those with family members who have Alzheimer’s dementia or other memory loss issues to cope during this time of year.
If you have a loved one who has dementia, here are a few hints and tips for a happier holiday season from one of the Alzheimer’s Association‘s programs in Illinois.
“The program addresses the feelings, challenges, expectations and exhaustion brought on by the traditional celebration of the holidays,” said Janet Veach of the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Veach goes on to say…
“If the person is in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s, there might be significant changes in cognitive abilities since the last time an out-of-town friend or relative visited. ”
“These changes can be hard to accept,” Veach said. “Make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person. You may find this easier to share changes in a letter or e-mail that can be sent to multiple recipients ahead of time.”
Allow family and friends to know ahead of time that the person with dementia may find it difficult to follow a conversation helps everyone feel more at ease.
One of the first things my brother noticed about Mom, long before she was diagnosed, was that she couldn’t follow a conversation. At a family gathering, he had tried and tried to have a conversation with her. Yet, it soon became obvious that she did not understand what he was saying.
Since Mom was thinking much slower than my brother was speaking, it was difficult for her, with dementia, to keep up with a casual conversation.
If you know someone has Alzheimer’s or dementia and is a little slower at comprehending speech, you might slow your pace while having a conversation. The person with dementia may listen and converse quite well if you slow the conversation.
On the other hand, if you rush to finish their sentences for them, the memory impaired person may feel that they’re being treated like a child. It’s much better to be patient, and allow them time to find the right words to listen and to speak.
“Building on past traditions and memories can be important at this time of the year”, Veach said. “Focus on activities that are meaningful to the person with dementia,” she said. “Your family member may find comfort in singing old holiday songs or looking through old photo albums. Involve the person in holiday preparation.“
Engage and support the elderly with advanced neurological conditions like Brain stroke, TIA, Alzheimer, Dementia, Aphasia….
There are so many things the person with Alzheimer’s can still do for many years. They may be slower, as with conversations, but with patience they may still be a valued and active member of your family for many years to come.
<< If an older tradition no longer works well for your family, create a new traditions that includes your loved one! >>
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