Whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa – or your spouse – the “holiday quarter” can present special challenges for families with a loved one suffering from dementia, according to everydayhealth.com.
“We have an expectation that loved ones should never change from the person we’ve perceived them to be for years, but everyone changes significantly over an extended period, especially those diagnosed with dementia,” says Kerry Mills, a sought-after expert in best care practices for people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Mills, coauthor with Jennifer A. Brush of “I Care, A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia,” offers this tip:
• Safety is your biggest priority. Whether during a holiday gathering or in general, Grandma may commit herself to activities she shouldn’t be doing, such as driving.
“She’s been driving for decades, and then she develops a memory problem, which not only prevents her from remembering her condition, but also how to drive safely,” Mills says. “This major safety concern applies to any potentially dangerous aspect to life.”
“Currently, there’s a stigma with the condition, but I’d like to change the baseline for how we regard dementia,” Mills says. “As with other medical conditions, Alzheimer’s should not be about waiting to die – patients often live 15 years or more after a diagnosis. It should be about living with it.”