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Navigation in the holiday season



According to the article submitted on 8 December 2018.

Holidays can be difficult for people living with dementia

Submitted by Alzheimer

Holidays are often full of opportunities for inertia, sharing, laughter and memories. Families often organize festive meetings, and sometimes these events may pose particular problems for someone living with dementia.

Unknown places, large groups of people, noise and hectic pace can increase anxiety for people living with dementia. The holiday season can be especially stressful for carers. However, with some modifications to these traditional celebrations, people with dementia and their families can enjoy what the holidays have to offer. Whether the person you care about living at home or in long-term care maintains a regular routine to help minimize stress.

A person living with dementia may feel a strange feeling of loss during the holidays due to the changes he has experienced. They can escape the beloved man who has lost long ago, may not recognize the family around him, or may feel that someone is missing. This is common for people with dementia lack of enthusiasm and interest in holidays. In the initial phase, a person with Alzheimer's or other dementia may experience minor changes. Some may download and be less comfortable, while others may be happy to see family and friends as before. Whenever possible, include a person living with dementia into decisions and activities. Remember, we are all different, no matter what tasks we face.

Care partners can feel overwhelmed by maintaining traditions in providing care and may also feel a loss because their close ones are not the same as they were for previous holidays. Emotions can be particularly challenging during the holidays, when so many are happening. Be kind to yourself and to those around you.

So, how can you and your family create a positive and meaningful vacation? While some traditions may no longer be practical or possible, new traditions can begin.

– Plan something special, but leave it easy, like going for a walk or decorating a tree.

– Try to keep regular schedules as much as possible and plan activities at a time when a person living with dementia is more open to attend.

– Try to keep the celebrations small. >

– Consider lending help, or ask other family members and friends to help you, perhaps by bringing food or coming in to help start or spend time with a person living with dementia (remembering holidays in the past can all be involved).

– Participate in people living with dementia. Let them get involved in the preparations and tasks they like.

– Choose the opportunities and traditions that are most important for you and your family, or

– Create a new family tradition, such as watching a favorite holiday movie, attending religious services, or singing traditional songs.

– If you are visiting an unknown house, try to predict what you need, such as a door marker, anti-slip mats or favorite home items.

– If visitors stay with you, try to predict what they need to know, for example, they do not leave open doors or leave pills or other potentially dangerous items where they can pose a risk.

– Remember that silent and individual activities such as viewing a common photo album or playing cards are less stressful than noisy activities with several people, even for someone who enjoys this type of activity. Ask people living with dementia and adjust if necessary.

As a carer-partner, be sure to take care of yourself and your needs while taking care of your loved ones. > Make permission to do just what you can reasonably handle. Some traditional activities are best omitted if they create stress or anxiety (ie baking, creating big holidays).

Ensuring simplicity and keeping time with your family will mean a pleasant and meaningful holiday for everyone involved.

For more information on the care of someone with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, contact the Alzheimer's Society of Alberta and the Northwest Territory, Lethbridge office at 403-329-3766.

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