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Caregiver Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

Caregiver Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is more than just a turkey with all the fixings. It is a time to share thanks for all that we have been given and a time for togetherness with family and friends.

If a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, considerations can be made in advance to ensure an enjoyable holiday for all. Here are some Thanksgiving Dinner tips to help both people with dementia and their families during Thanksgiving:

 

1. Plan ahead

There is a tendency to prepare the person with dementia for any event that will change their daily routine. However these efforts can confuse the person more and make them anxious. If you are taking your loved one to a different setting, leave plenty of time to get there and explain as you go.

 

2. Get plenty of rest

Have him or her sleep in or take a nap in the afternoon to make sure they are rested for the gathering.

 

3. Keep them involved

If they are able, get their help to prepare the meal with simple tasks, like peeling potatoes.  Also make sure your loved one sits at the table to help them feel part of the group.

 

4. Think simple

Limit the number of guests to around ten so they are not overwhelmed. Most people with Alzheimer’s do best with a predictable daily routine. Try to keep the routine of a normal day and consider whether one large Thanksgiving gathering with all the family will be better than shorter visits throughout the weekend with different relatives.

 

5. Communicate

Encourage family not to be shy and speak to him or her and not just the group. Share tips with the family to improve communication, like being aware of their body language, smiling and using humour.

 

6. Be flexible and respond to mood changes

If he or she appears restless or irritated, take them away from the party for a break. If you are making a daylong celebration, have a quiet room available for a nap.  All the activity and people can be tiring.

 

7. Reminisce

As the evening winds down, consider an activity better suited for someone with dementia, like looking through old family photos, which can stimulate reminiscence. Old photos can be a great way to start a conversation about times that your loved one can still remember. If you don’t have old photos, you can still ask about past times, what they remember about holidays when they were young, their favorite traditions and foods.

 

8. Sing or listen to soft music

Music has a unique place in the human memory. Very often people can remember the words and tunes to songs when much else has been lost. Sing the songs that your family associates with Thanksgiving, or music that is special to your loved one.

 

5 ways you can be dementia–friendly in your community

5 ways you can be dementia–friendly in your community

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There are many ways you can be a friend to people with dementia in your community, whether it’s in conversation or looking out for someone’s safety. Check out these 5 tips, then visit www.dementiafriends.ca to become a Dementia Friend.

1) Communicate clearly

Speak clearly and use short, simple sentences. Be sure not to speak too quickly or raise your voice. Remember that a person with dementia may not understand what you’re doing or remember what you’ve said. Be respectful and address them and their caregiver in conversation.

2) Use positive body language

Dementia can affect people in how they express themselves and understand what is being said to them, so body language is important for communication. Make sure that the person can see your face clearly and that your expressions match what you’re saying. Smile, make eye contact, and be respectful of personal space.

3) Help find the way

People with dementia sometimes become disoriented and may become lost, even in familiar places. If you see someone who looks lost or confused, it’s okay to approach them. Smile and speak slowly and calmly. Tell them who you are and ask their name. Ask “yes” or “no” questions, and give the person plenty of time to respond. Be sure to check if the person is wearing a Medic-Alert Safely Home bracelet. Contact the police for help and wait with the person until they arrive.

4) Be aware of environment

Noise, lighting, shiny, reflective or patterned surfaces can contribute to an environment that can be disorienting or over stimulating for the person with dementia, causing them to become agitated. If you are in conversation, consider a space that is less busy and quieter.

5) Be a careful and understanding listener

Listen carefully to what the person is saying and if you don’t understand them fully, explain what you have understood. Sometimes visual clues are helpful, so you might try writing your message down or using pictures or objects to help the person understand.

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5 manières d’être un ami de la santé cognitive dans votre communauté

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Il existe de nombreuses manières d’être ami avec les personnes atteintes de troubles cognitifs dans votre communauté, que ce soit par le bais de conversations ou en vous préoccupant de la sécurité de quelqu’un. Prenez connaissance de ces 5 conseils, puis rendez-vous sur www.amissantecognitive.ca pour devenir un ami de la santé cognitive.

1) Communiquer de manière claire

Parlez clairement et utilisez des phrases simples et courtes. Assurez-vous de ne pas parler trop vite et de ne pas élever la voix. Souvenez-vous qu’une personne atteinte d’un trouble cognitif pourrait ne pas comprendre ce que vous faites ou se souvenir de ce que vous avez dit. Soyez respectueux et adressez-vous à ces personnes et leurs aidants au cours de conversations.
2) Utilisez un langage corporel positif

Les troubles cognitifs peuvent affecter la manière dont les personnes qui en sont atteintes s’expriment et comprennent ce qu’on leur dit. Aussi, le langage corporel est important pour la communication. Assurez-vous que la personne puisse voir clairement votre visage et que vos expressions correspondent à ce que vous dites. Souriez, ayez un contact visuel et respectez l’espace de la personne.

 

3) Aidez les personnes à trouver leur chemin

Les personnes atteintes de troubles cognitifs sont parfois désorientées et peuvent se perdre même dans des endroits qui leur sont familiers. Si vous apercevez une personne qui semble perdue ou désorientée, vous pouvez l’approcher. Souriez et parlez lentement et calmement. Dites-lui qui vous êtes et demandez-lui son nom. Posez des questions fermées (oui ou non) et donnez beaucoup de temps à la personne pour y répondre. Assurez-vous de vérifier si elle porte un bracelet MedicAlert Sécu Retour. Contactez la police pour obtenir de l’aide et attendez avec la personne jusqu’à ce qu’elle arrive.

 

4) Soyez conscient de l’environnement

Le bruit, l’éclairage, les surfaces brillantes, réfléchissantes ou à motif peuvent contribuer à produire un environnement qui peut désorienter ou être trop stimulant pour la personne atteinte de troubles cognitifs, ce qui peut provoquer son agitation. Pensez à un endroit plus calme et moins bruyant.

 

5) Soyez un auditeur attentif et compréhensif

Écoutez attentivement ce que dit la personne et si vous ne la comprenez pas complètement, expliquez-lui ce que vous avez compris. Parfois, des témoins visuels peuvent être utiles. Vous pourriez essayer d’écrire votre message ou utiliser des photos ou des objets pour l’aider à comprendre.