• Holiday Tips from The Alzheimer's Association

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    December 15, 2021
    This holiday season, families across the country are preparing for the holidays. Eleven million family members and friends will be caring for someone living with Alzheimer's. Holiday celebrations are often happy occasions, but they can be challenging and stressful for families living with Alzheimer's. Families and friends may be unsure of how to involve their loved one with Alzheimer's in activities without overwhelming them (or others).

    Community Engagement Specialist, Megan Pedersen, encourages families to plan ahead and communicate clearly. "The holidays are stressful in general," said Pedersen. "Keeping things simple and managing expectations can ensure the holidays can be a joyful time for everyone."

    She provides a few holiday tips from the Alzheimer's Association:
    • Make sure others know. Let guests know what to expect before they arrive and tell them how they can help. For example, what activities can they do with the person living with Alzheimer's and how best to communicate with them.
    • Build on traditions and memories. Take time to experiment with new traditions that might be less stressful or a better fit with your caregiving and responsibilities. For example, if evening confusion and agitation are a problem, turn your holiday dinner into a holiday lunch.
    • Involve the person with Alzheimer's. Depending on abilities and preferences, make sure to keep the person with Alzheimer's involved in the celebrations, such as packing cookies in tins or helping wrap gifts.
    • Plan ahead. When attending a holiday party, prepare the host for special needs, such as a quiet room for the person to rest in away from the noise and distractions.
    How to Help an Alzheimer's Caregiver
    • Learn about the disease. Educate yourself about Alzheimer's disease - its symptoms, its progression and the common challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help. The Alzheimer's Association has a vast amount of resources and information available at www.alz.org.
    • Offer caregivers a reprieve. Make a standing appointment to give the caregiver a break. Spend some time with the person with dementia and allow the caregiver a chance to run errands, got to their own doctor's appointment, participate in a support group or engage in an activity that helps them recharge. Even one hour could make a big difference in providing the caregiver some relief.
    • Check In. Almost tow out of every three caregivers said that feeling isolated or alone was a significant challenge in providing care for someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. What's more, half of all caregivers felt like they couldn't talk to anyone in social settings or work about what they were going through.
    For additional information on Alzheimer's and the holidays, please visit https://alz.org/help-support/resources/holidays. Please contact Megan Pedersen with any questions at mepedersen@alz.org or 563-293-8058.

    Megan Olsen, Development Specialist
    mkolsen@alz.org, (563) 293-8056