Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Coping Strategies for the Holidays: Families of Persons with Dementia

Suggestions for coping during the Holidays (and other special occasions) with family members suffering from Dementia:

  • Do take your time – synchronize your pace to that of your family member with Dementia. Holiday seasons are about enjoying time with family and not necessarily about entertaining or overwhelming.
  • Do one activity at a time – multi-tasking can lead to frustration for family caregivers and persons with dementia.
  • Do understand if your family member does not seem to appreciate the efforts of preparing an elaborate dinner – they may be happy to just be in your company and get anxious with all of the activity and fuss involved in meal preparation.
  • Do consider the noise level and multiple distractions that can impact upon a person with dementia resulting from the gathering of large groups of family or friends.
  • Do not be offended if your family member wants to go home immediately after eating dinner.
  • Be considerate of the words “do you remember” – do not pressure a person to reminisce and remember specifics if the memories do not come. Perhaps reflections can be based on “I remember when we used to go to…”
  • Photo albums of holiday’s past can assist with a relaxing form of reminiscence.
  • Allow for a quiet space for a family member with dementia to go to relax – they may just need a brief time to rejuvenate to continue on in the activities of the season.

Source: Eldercare Network News

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