7 Steps to celebrating the 4th of July with the Alzheimer’s Patient
1. Try to maintain routine as much as you can. Don’t allow the days preparations to become disruptive or confusing. If the Alzheimer’s patient normally naps after lunch, allow time in the schedule for that important activity.
2. Include the person with Alzheimer’s in the activity to the extent she is able to participate. Simple activities such as folding the napkins, peeling the potatoes or setting the table will help the person feel that she is participating.
3. Because reminiscing can often be therapeutic for the person with Alzheimer’s, invite family and friends to tell stories of family events or times they have shared on previous 4th‘s! Include children in the telling of family stories.
4. Don’t ask “Do you remember?” Testing the memory of a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be demoralizing to that person. Instead, introduce people by name and repeat the name frequently. Say something like “Your granddaughter Karen wants to tell you about the time you took her to the movies for the first time.”
5. The sights, sounds, and tastes of the day may stimulate your loved one’s senses. The loud noise from fireworks and vibrant colorful lights may frighten the patient or increase agitation. Have a plan in place if you plan to view the festivities away from home.
6. Try not to have too much going on at any one time, as it may confuse the person with Alzheimer’s. If the number of people or the noise level causes distress, redirect the Alzheimer’s patient by sitting quietly with him or taking him for a walk.
7. Consider the time of day. Some Alzheimer’s patients experience “sun downing” or evening confusion and may derive more pleasure from a lunchtime celebration.