Many of us have a loved one with Dementia.
The Alzheimers Association says that “an estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018. This number includes an estimated 5.5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s“.
When you have a loved one with Dementia, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do or how to act when planning family events.
It requires advanced planning and we need to take their needs into consideration.
There are several steps you can take to make it less stressful for everyone.
It might take a few times, but you’ll eventually figure out what works.
Again it’s best to plan ahead.
Here are some helpful tips!
It might be best to plan a morning or early afternoon event, depending on if your loved one gets tired or confused later in the day.
Being confused later in the day is called “sundowning” where their agitation or confusion may be worse in the late afternoon or evening.
You could provide a room where the person can rest if needed.
Music evokes emotions that bring memories and seems to make loved ones happy, so play familiar music at your event from back in the day.
Music can reduce anxiety, lessen agitation and relieves stress.
Make it fun and maybe include singing or dancing!
Does your loved one do better in large groups conversing with many people or do they prefer one on one time?
Do they like to engage or observe others without speaking much?
For an upcoming family event, you could ask your loved one to help out in some simple way.
Your family member wants to feel like part of the family, so give them a job or task that you need help with before the event.
Have them set the table, putting crackers in a bowl or pour water into glasses.
Display an old photo album on a table near your loved one.
It very well could bring back old memories and might create conversation.
The photos allow your loved one to reminisce about happy times.
It can also help them remember the people in their lives and live in the moment!
When having a conversation with your loved one, it’s best to be patient.
They may take longer to answer questions and they also might repeat themselves, which is common.
Sometimes they may ask the same questions many times.
A good way to respond is to reply with short and simple answers, or distract them with a different activity.
Lastly, always remember to keep your sense of humor.
Laughter sends a positive message to your loved one and can relieve tension for the person with Dementia and the caregiver as well.
Sadly, my Aunt suffers from Dementia and although her short term memory is failing, her sense of humor isn’t!
Do you have a loved one suffering with Dementia? Please share!
TOPIC: Tips for Planning Family Events Around People With Dementia!
If you do know someone with Dementia, here’s a book that may be helpful.