Celebrating Thanksgiving When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s
Many families will be preparing for Thanksgiving in the week to come. Many aging members of families will likely also be joining them, some them living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative neurological disorder characterized by progressively worsening memory loss, speech loss, and the loss of everyday functioning. This disorder poses a challenge for many families as some members of the family have to take on the role of a family caregiver, as well as providing emotional and financial support for their loved one.
Most people living with the disorder will be unable to travel independently, meaning holiday activities are either hosted locally near their loved ones or their loved ones are assisted in travelling long distances. In this blog we will go over some tips on how you can make Thanksgiving feasible for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, it all takes careful planning and teamwork, but it will allow your loved one to celebrate the holidays with the rest of the family.
(1) Prepare Your Aging Loved One: There is a chance that your loved one will not remember some of the guests that come, which can lead to confusion. This means preparing your loved one by familiarizing them with photos of your guests and repeating this process a few times. This may be a helpful strategy for them to avoid confusion the day of Thanksgiving.
(2) Prepare for Accommodations: This means assessing what level of interaction your loved one is ready for and whether or not they will be okay in crowd settings. If not, this may mean hosting a smaller Thanksgiving or setting aside a special room for your loved one to be in. This may be necessary because those living with Alzheimer’s can often be overwhelmed by noise and crowded environments.
(3) Rely on the Past: For those living with Alzheimer’s, more recent memories are more difficult to recall. It may be easier to rely on cues your loved one can recognize to remind them about past events. This can include finding old photo albums, playing their favorite music, or asking them to share stories about growing up. This strategy can help make interactions go more smoothly.
(4) Schedule Dinner Early in the Day: One common symptom of Alzheimer’s is “sundowning,” which usually results in confusion and agitation becoming worse in the evening time. As a result, it is smarter to schedule a dinner earlier in the day to avoid worsening these symptoms.
(5) Rely on Others for Help: If you are a family caregiver, then you must already know how much time and energy caregiving takes. Instead of hosting on your own, why don’t you rely on others? Ask family members to bring dishes with them. Make the event a potluck. An additional way you can ask for help is by relying on other family members to watch over your loved one while you are occupied with things like hosting or cooking.
ElderCare at Home wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving. If you have any questions please visit our website or call 888-285-0093.
 Source: https://www.qualicare.com/toronto-south/about-us/blog/10-tips-to-have-a-happy-thanksgiving-with-alzhei/
 Source: https://www.anthemmemorycare.com/blog/when-a-family-member-has-dementia-thanksgiving-tips