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Approaching the Holidays with Individuals with Dementiareprinted with permission from the Alzheimer's AssociationThe holidays are often filled with opportunities for togetherness, sharing, laughter and memories. But they can also bring stress, disappointment and sadness. A person living with Alzheimer’s may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes he or she has experienced. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed maintaining traditions while providing care.In the early stage, a person living with Alzheimer’s may experience minor changes. Some may withdraw and be less comfortable socializing, while others may relish seeing family and friends as before. The key is to check in with each other and discuss options. A simple “How are you doing?” or “How are you coping with everything?” may be appreciated. Plan the holidays together, focusing on the things that bring happiness and letting go of activities that seem overwhelming or stressful.As the disease progresses into the middle and late stages, review your holiday plans to ensure they are still a good fit. Everyone is unique and finding a plan that works can involve trial and error. The following tips may help you make the holidays easier and happier occasions:***Adjust expectations. Call a face-to-face meeting or arrange for a group discussion via telephone, videochat or email for family and friends to discuss holiday celebrations. Make sure thateveryone understands your caregiving situation and has realistic expectations aboutwhat you can and cannot do. No one should expect you to maintain every holidaytradition or event. Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. If you’vealways invited 15 to 20 people to your home, consider inviting five for a simplermeal. Think about having a potluck dinner, asking someone to order and bringdinner, or asking others to host. Familiarize others with your situation by writing a letter or email similar to thefollowing:I’m writing to let you know how things are going at our house. We’re lookingforward to your visit, and we thought it might be helpful for you to understand ourcurrent situation before you arrive.**You may notice that ___ has changed since you last saw him/her. Among thechanges you may notice are ___. I’ve enclosed a picture so you know how ___ looksnow. Because ___ sometimes has problems remembering and thinking clearly,his/her behavior is a little unpredictable.**Please understand that ___ may not remember who you are and may confuse youwith someone else. Please don’t feel offended by this. He/she appreciates your beingwith us and so do we. Please treat ___ as you would any person. A warm smile anda gentle touch on ___’s shoulder or hand will be appreciated more than you know.**We would ask that you call when you’re nearby so we can prepare for your arrival.With your help and support, we can create a holiday memory that we’ll all treasureInvolve the person living with Alzheimer’s. Involve the person in safe, manageable holiday preparation activities that he or sheenjoys. Ask him or her to help you prepare food, wrap packages, help decorate orset the table. (Avoid using candies, artificial fruits and vegetables as decorationsbecause a person living with dementia might confuse them with real food. Blinkinglights may also confuse the person.) Maintain the person’s normal routine as much as possible, so that holidaypreparations don’t become disruptive or confusing. Taking on too many tasks canwear on both of you. Build on traditions and memories. Your family member may find comfort in goingcaroling, but you may also experiment with new traditions that might be lessstressful or a better fit with your caregiving responsibilities, such as watchingseasonal movies.***Adapt gift giving. Provide people with suggestions for useful and enjoyable gifts for the person, suchas an identification bracelet or membership in a wandering response service (contactthe Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 for more information).Or, suggest comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing; favorite music; photo albums offamily and friends; or favorite treats. Advise people not to give gifts such as dangerous tools or instruments, utensils,challenging board games, complicated electronic equipment or pets. Depending on his or her abilities and preferences, involve the person in gift giving.For example, someone who once enjoyed baking may enjoy helping to makecookies and pack them in tins or boxes. Or you may want to buy the gift so that theperson can wrap it. If friends or family members ask you what you’d like for a gift, you may want tosuggest a gift certificate or something that will help make things easier, likehousecleaning; lawn, handyman or laundry services; restaurant gift cards; or evenvolunteer to visit with the person for an afternoon so you can have some time off. ***Try to be flexible. Celebrate over lunch or brunch, rather than an evening meal, so you can workaround the evening confusion (sundowning) if it sometimes affects the person livingwith Alzheimer’s. Consider serving nonalcoholic drinks and keeping the room bright. Prepare for post-holiday letdown. Arrange for in-home care so you can rest, enjoy a movie or have lunch with a friend, and reduce post-holiday stress and fatigue. ... See MoreSee Less
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Senior Dance Group begins TOMORROW December 7th, 1 pm – 3 pm ! ... See MoreSee Less
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This Wednesday, attend Companionship: The Missing Ingredient in Senior Nutrition online.Webinars are free and open to the public. You do not need to be an ASA member to attend.The importance of proper nutrition for older adults cannot be understated. However, for some older adults, it can be hard to get motivated to cook nutritious meals, especially for those who live alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent (13.8 million) of community-dwelling older adults live alone, which could put them at risk for poor nutrition. Malnutrition can affect the mind, body, immune system and energy levels in ways older adults and family caregivers may not be aware of. Older adults who eat meals with others take in more nutrients and reap additional benefits like decreased loneliness. Join this webinar to learn how companionship is often the missing ingredient in a healthy diet for an older adult.Participants in this webinar will be able to:Recognize the causes and warning signs of poor nutritionIdentify the potential risks associated with eating aloneUnderstand the benefits of companionship at mealtimeDiscover resources to support nutritious meals for older adultsRegister here: www.asaging.org/web-seminars/companionship-missing-ingredient-senior-nutrition ... See MoreSee Less
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The doors to the Christmas Bazaar are open! All are welcome!Please join us at 2045 Arthur Street from NOW (8:30am) until 3:00pm! Find the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season. Enjoy local handmade goods, a bake sale (various dietary options will be available), and the snack bar will be open for lunch. We hope to see you soon! Call 541-883-7171 with questions.[Image description: Watercolor Christmas painting including garland with cookies, fir branches and red berries. Image credit: Анна Султанова on Adobe Stock] ... See MoreSee Less
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