2017-12-20 / Front Page

Alzheimer’s Association shares tips for holidays

How families affected by Alzheimer’s can prepare for celebrations, safe travel

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.

A few holiday celebration tips from the Alzheimer’s Association are listed below. More information can be found here.

• 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. For example, if evening confusion and agitation are a problem, turn your holiday dinner into a holiday lunch.

• 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.

The Alzheimer’s Association also offers a number of easy tips to help ensure a safe and smooth trip when traveling with a person living with dementia. More tips and information are also available at alz.org/travel:

• Stick with the familiar. Travel to known destinations. Try to visit places that are familiar.

• Be prepared. Create an itinerary that includes details. Give copies to family members or friends, and keep a copy with you.

• Pick the right time. Travel during the time of day that is best for the person with Alzheimer’s.

• Avoid layovers. If unavoidable, ask about airport escort services.

• Ask for help. For example, request airline personnel to help you navigate through the airport.

• Ensure a Safe Return. Changes in environment can trigger wandering. Enroll in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®.

• Find local support. Before you go, contact the Alzheimer’s Association chapter at your destination, or call the 24-hour Helpline at 800.272.3900.

About the Alzheimer’s Association:

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Today, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, including 110,000 Hoosiers. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. Visit www.alz.org/indiana or call 800- 272-3900.

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