“You have to plan ahead to help someone with dementia get the most out of the holidays. Nobody else is going to do it for you or for them.”
Sharon Roszel, caregiver for her mother.
For people living with dementia, the holiday season may bring its fair share of stress, sense of loss, tension, confusion or sadness.
That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Ontario offers the following helpful and seasonal tips to help make festivities as stress-free as possible. We want to encourage you to create new memories and new traditions to enhance the holidays for all.
Tip: The season is bound to be nostalgic for everyone. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to handle the situation, but do find ways of adapting traditions to the new situation. If you can’t attend the usual holiday concert, take a walk in the park with holiday music on your mobile device and find peace and joy in that moment.
Holiday tip sheets for downloads
Tip: If you are bringing the party home, don’t forget to talk openly with children about some of the changes to traditional activities. Give them time to ask questions, understand and adjust.
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Finding Your Way™
A change in routine can be disorienting and trigger agitation. The “Shifting Focus” guide is meant to help family members, friends and caregivers of people with dementia understand behaviours and actions, and how to communicate during challenging behaviours. www.shiftingfocusontario.ca
Telehealth Ontario can connect family caregivers of people with dementia to support, advice, and referral when the local Alzheimer Society or other organizations are closed. The free service is available by dialing 1-866-797-0000.
Also, make a list of doctors and pharmacies that are open during the holidays in case of emergencies.
Tip: If you are preparing a visit to a long-term care home, limit the number of people. Crowds can be confusing for people with dementia. Organize several smaller groups over a number of days instead. Make sure you plan ahead and inform the home.