The holidays are a joyous time for many, but for families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia the holidays can be very stressful and depressing.
The Alzheimer’s Association has some great suggestions to help family caregivers and their loved ones enjoy the holidays as well.
We’ll be focusing on a different idea each week throughout the next two months so make sure and check back often.
Explain the situation before hand
This special time of year brings many emotions with it. It might be helpful to let extended family and other guests know what to expect before they arrive.
- If the person is in the early stages of dementia, changes in appearance and behavior may not be noticeable, but the person with dementia may have trouble following conversations or may repeat the same thing over and over.
- Explaining the situation ahead of time and encouraging family and friends to be patient, respectful and allow the person time to finish his or her thoughts with out interrupting or correcting will help him or her feel part of the group.
- A loved one in more advanced stages of dementia will have noticeable changes in behavior that may be difficult for loved ones who haven’t seen him or her for awhile to accept. It’s important to help family and friends understand that the behavior and memory changes are from the disease they have and not the person.
Write a letter or send an email to family and friends
It might be easier to create an email to send out to family and friends explaining the changes that have occurred, what to expect and the most positive things family members can do to make their visit a pleasant one. Some examples of letters:
- “I’m writing to let you know how things are going at our house. While we’re looking forward to your visit, we thought it might be helpful if you understood our current situation before you arrive.”
- “You may notice that ___ has changed since you last saw him/her. Among the changes you may notice are ___.”
- “Please understand that ___ may not remember who you are and may confuse you with someone else. Please don’t feel offended by this. He/she appreciates your being with us and so do I.” (www.alz.org)
For more ideas on helping extended family and friends understand the changes their loved one with dementia is experiencing visit Alz-Connected.
Here at the Aspen Senior Center of Provo we follow a specially designed program for seniors with memory loss. We provide fun, engaging activities, music and lunch, plus peace of mind for families caring for loved ones with memory loss. Please visit the center or or call us at (801) 607-2300 for more information. Visit our Aspen Senior Center Facebook page to see some of the fun activities they do!