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The Holidays and Dementia

REDMOND, OR -- The holidays can be a stressful time, even under the best of circumstances. But, for those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. Tracie Flores, Director of Operations at Country Side Living in Redmond, says it’s still important to include them in the festivities. "You’re no longer going to create lasting memories for the people with dementia or Alzheimer's, but you yourself will create memories and it’s important to carry those memories through that you can share as you get older with your children and your grandchildren."


But, she says keep visits relaxed, with expectations low. Family and visitors need to pay attention to the person's body language; and don’t be afraid to cut a visit short if needed. "Are they communicating to you that they’re tired, anxious, upset or overwhelmed? Read their body language. It’s so important that we take into account they might be overwhelmed and over stimulated. So, just removing them from that stimulation." Most importantly, remain flexible. "A lot of times they get so used to living in a community that that is now their home. Don’t let that hurt your feelings, be happy that you chose that home."
Stephanie Roderick, Executive Director of Country Side Living, says it’s also important family caregivers take time off during the holidays. "Get a break; take yourself to a movie; take a nap, whatever you need to do to take care of you. We’re not seeing much of that happening, and they need to."

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