Alzheimer’s Association provides resources to help families handle holidays
Having plans in place can make a big impact on health and well-being of those in care and the enjoyment of family holidays for all.
The Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter is sharing their “Holidays and Alzheimer’s Families” online resource to help caregivers to make plans ahead of the holidays to improve the experience for their loved ones facing dementia and the family overall.
This free resource is just one of many tools available through the Alzheimer’s Association to help caregivers reduce the stress associated with the holidays and nurture positive interactions during family gatherings this holiday season.
More than 84,000 South Carolina residents are facing Alzheimer’s and over 300,000 caregivers are providing over 340 million hours of unpaid care each year. Caregiving can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when schedules are disrupted or daily activities are changed. Due to the extreme nature of Alzheimer’s and other dementia, the holidays can be challenging. However, with some planning and adjusted expectations, the Alzheimer’s Association shares that celebrations can still be happy, memorable occasions.
“The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be stressful for all of us, but it can be overwhelming for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia,” said Cindy Alewine, President/ CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter. “While some traditions may be comforting, unfamiliar settings and crowded rooms may be confusing or over stimulating for those with dementia. Now is the time for caregiving families to begin planning.” The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that family members:
• Familiarize others with the situation; make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person.
• Adjust expectations; for caregivers, the person with dementia, and the family overall.
•Involve the person with dementia; this is their holiday as well and they can find joy in being included.
• Adapt gift giving; for both the person with dementia and caregivers alike. Their needs may be different from your expectations.
• Try as able to maintain a normal routine; plan family gatherings around the person with dementia’s normal schedule (i.e. schedule dinner to start when the person with dementia would normally eat dinner).
In addition to the “Holidays and Alzheimer’s Families” guide, the Alzheimer’s Association will also provide information and assistance throughout the holidays via their helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or at alz.org/sc. This resource is available on every holiday and 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. Currently in America over 15 million people are serving as caregivers to loved ones facing this disease and other forms of dementia. November is National Family Caregiver’s Month and also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org® or call 800-272-3900.