The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and it’s a time that can revive ongoing family tensions and conflicts. And the period may now bring even more stress to baby boomers, who CNN has dubbed “Generation Alzheimer’s.”
Boomers increasingly are caretakers to family members, parents or other relatives, who have Alzheimer’s. CNN called the disease the most common form of dementia in a story headlined “Celebrating Thanksgiving with ‘Generation Alzheimer’s.'”
So this Thanksgiving some people will have to decide how, or if, to include their relatives with Alzheimer’s in Thursday’s feast. I mean, do you have your mother to dinner when she sometimes can’t remember who you are? What if she panics and gets nervous when she is in a large group?
A lot of people are in this situation. CNN cited statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association that say that more than 15 million Americans offer unpaid care to a person with dementia.
I think CNN provided a service with this story, because it interviewed Laura Wayman, who wrote the book “A Loving Approach to Dementia Care.” Wayman provided several recommendations about spending the holiday with someone with dementia.
She suggests you talk about the past, to jog the person’s memory, but not to question them about what they recall.
Don’t have too many guests at dinner, because the person with dementia may not be capable of following all the conversations.
If the person starts to look upset or overwhelmed, ask if they want to go and rest. And create pleasant smells in your home, which may spark a happy memory in the person.
And at the Thanksgiving table, silently pray that scientists find a cure for this horrendous disease.
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