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Ten caregiver tips for Thanksgiving dinner

Ten caregiver tips for Thanksgiving dinner

I love having the family over for Thanksgiving. It’s a treat to catch up and exchange stories. But I’m also a caregiver and those duties can never be ignored. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and lives at home with me.

Including a person with dementia in a social gathering can be challenging, but also rewarding. Although my mother enjoys socializing, she isn’t the only one who has difficulty communicating with others. Sometimes friends and family feel uncertain of what to say when speaking to someone with dementia.

To help ensure a fun family gathering, here are some tips to help both people with dementia and their families:

  1. Have her sleep in or take a nap in the afternoon to make sure she is rested for the gathering.
  2. If she is still able, get her to help prepare the meal with simple tasks, like peeling potatoes.
  3. Limit the number of guests to around ten so she is not overwhelmed.
  4. Limit loud music as it’s distracting
  5. Make sure she sits at the table to help her feel part of the group.
  6. Encourage family not to be shy. My mother always enjoyed when people spoke to her and not just the group.
  7. Share tips with the family to improve communication, like being aware of their body language, smiling and using humour.
  8. Be flexible and respond to mood changes. If she appears restless or irritated, take her away from the party for a break.
  9. Ask for her help with cleaning up after the meal.
  10. As the evening winds down, consider an activity better suited for someone with dementia, like looking through old family photos, which can stimulate reminiscence.


For more help for mealtimes, visit our website.

sharonSharon Roszel


Summer’s bounty: adding brain healthy foods to your diet

Summer’s bounty: adding brain healthy foods to your diet

It feels like summer is finally arriving, and with it, an abundance of fresh and delicious food. It’s finally time for those fresh berries, sweet watermelon, and juicy oranges.

Summer is a  great opportunity to both take advantage of the less expensive in-season fruits and veggies and try to add some brain healthy food choices to your diet. Healthy food choices not only improve your health all around, they are also beneficial to brain health. Scientific evidence indicates that long-term healthy dietary choices help maintain brain function, slow memory decline and may help reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Watermelon is made mostly of water and helps keep you hydrated, and it also helps protect your skin cells from damage thanks to its lycopene content. Watermelon is also rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that helps produce serotonin, lifting your spirits and reducing stress. It also helps the body to create hemoglobin to better supply oxygen to the brain in your blood.

Oranges are full of vitamin C, an immunobooster, and a powerful anti-oxidant. They also help replenish the body’s potassium, which is lost when you sweat. They make a great post-workout snack that can help reduce muscle cramps from loss of potassium.

Speaking of anti-oxidants, delicious berries are full of them! In fact, the blue/purple fruits and veggies, like blackberries, blueberries, purple cabbage, and plums are all great food choices. Berries also contain flavonoids, which may improve memory, learning and general cognitive function.

Want to help your skin even more? How about a salad with mixed greens, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard? From the spinach and kale you’ll get your vitamin A to help protect skin from sun damage and reduce sensitivity to harmful UV light, and you’ll also get anti-oxidants and the anti-inflammatory effects of Swiss chard.

If you add some tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to that salad, you’ll be helping your body fight against cancer, adding more lycopene to protect skin cells, and contributing to bone health with the helpings of vitamins A, C, and K and B6. Not to mention that lycopene is yet another anti-oxidant.

With all of this delicious and healthy food at its best in the summer, what’s not to like about this season? Even if you don’t like the hot weather, at least you can cool down with some of summer’s best bounty.

Learn more about how you can make healthy food choices.