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Published on: October 19, 2013
by Alzheimer’s Association:
Mixing party time and dementia makes for an interesting brew. People can often become distracted from the spirit of celebration by worrying about reducing a loved one’s anxiety, or protecting everyday routines at events that are anything but routine. This all takes some thinking and planning.
It is worth noting that the holidays celebrate getting through hard times together and prompt us to be compassionate.
Thanksgiving reminds us to share gratefully the everyday good things. In winter, holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah bring families together in the spirit of giving and human warmth. New Year’s celebrates letting go of the past to make a better future.
Dementia care relates to this spirit: looking after one another in difficult times, because this honors the best in us. The magic lies in having some fun while we’re at it!
Many families choose to continue long-standing traditions that reassure them family life is larger than dementia. Loved ones with Alzheimer’s may be comforted by familiar patterns and find delight in the vitality of the young. On the other hand, others plan around needs of the person with dementia in order to reduce the risk of frustration and blame.
Here are a few tried and true stress-busters to help temper holiday stress:
Gift-Giving Tips For People With Dementia
Early Stage: Individuals may be aware of their problems. Choose gifts that will enhance independence and activity.
Middle Stage: Since more assistance is needed and the attention span in the individual is shorter, try gifts that focus on organization and the familiar.
Late Stage: Capacity to deal with anything complicated is diminished in the later stage, so choose gifts that keep in mind that comprehension and understanding is poor.
Lastly, be reminded that the holidays are a rest point between past struggles and an uncertain future. Enjoy the moment!
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