Summer celebrations like reunions, family traditions, holidays, and weddings can be both wonderful and difficult for your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s. While time with family and reminding them of the past can help them remember and enjoy, sometimes it causes anxiety from expectation. Here are tips to help your loved one through these occasions so they can enjoy them without disappointment.
1. Encourage Participation
Your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s benefits from these gatherings, so encourage them to come even if they are worried they shouldn’t. Involve them in preparations for the event so they might begin to remember what is to come.
2. Limit Stimulation
Instead of celebrating the 4th of July with fireworks, a parade, and crowds, invite over close family members for a grill-out. Limit the number of people demanding your loved one’s attention and energy. Have a quiet activity to distract or escape to for when they get overwhelmed, like a photo album of family members.
3. Prepare Guests
Be sure anyone involved in the celebration is at least aware of the situation. If this is the first visit since your loved one became seriously impaired with Alzheimer’s, warn guests it might be difficult. Remind them that even if their names or relationships may not be remembered, their company is still valued.
4. Recall Faces
It can be frustrating for those suffering from Alzheimer’s to vaguely recognize a face but nothing else. Before the event, such as a wedding, show photos of the important people involved to your loved one. Name the faces and explain their relationship to them every couple of days leading up to the event. You can even bring the photos along!
5. Whisper Help
If you are in a situation where you can tell your loved one is floundering, do not be afraid to whisper to them for help. Whispering a name, an explanation, a direction, a reminder, or anything can be a way to help them through the tricky situation without embarrassing them.
6. Rest Time
No matter what you are planning with your loved one, be sure there is plenty of rest time. It takes a lot of energy for them to attend!
Putting in a little extra effort to include and help your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s will allow them to still enjoy important summer celebrations!