The holidays have always been something I look forward to because my whole family gathers in one place. These get-togethers are filled with great laughs, plenty of stories … and during my childhood, they were always topped off with copious amounts of delicious food, prepared completely by my grandmother.
These family gatherings were a chance for us grandkids to update grandma and grandpa to the happenings in our lives. As children, we were not aware of it, but it was also a chance for my dad and aunt to check in with my grandparents on their health and well-being.
Looking back, I remember one holiday when I noticed my grandmother’s behavior had slightly changed. I didn’t question why grandma asked the same question twice; I was more than happy to fill her in again on my school, friends and activities.
But the difference in my grandmother was worrying to my dad and aunt, and they arranged for her to see a doctor. This was the year that my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Catching the signs of dementia early meant that my dad and aunt were able to get a diagnosis and implement a treatment plan.
During the years my grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, we didn’t change the way we celebrated holidays, but we did take on more of the preparation work so my grandmother would feel less stressed and able to enjoy the holidays with the family. Through all of this, we were still able to make great memories together and continue to have those beloved family get-togethers.
Over the holidays, take a moment to do a check in with your elderly family members. Take a look at the Alzheimer Society’s tip sheet on signs to look for when you go home for the holidays.
Digital Media Coordinator