INDIANAPOLIS — While holiday celebrations are often festive occasions, they can be challenging for the millions of families living with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association has seen a rise in calls to its 24-hour Helpline during the holiday season — when people visit with friends and family whom they may not see as frequently during the year. Families may be unsure of how to involve a loved one with Alzheimer’s in activities. With some planning and adjusted expectations, the holidays can be happy and memorable for everyone.
• 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 with Alzheimer’s or 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 responsibilities.
• 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.
There are upcoming free education programs for Hoosiers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are in the Indianapolis area. “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease” will be held Thursday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. at Community South Hospital Education Center, and again on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital Conference Room. This program teaches attendees about detection, causes and risk factors, stages of the disease, treatment and much more.
There are no fees to attend programs, but registration is requested by contacting the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. For a full listing of education programs, visit alz.org/Indiana.
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