In an effort to raise awareness, educate our community and assist families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, this month’s article will touch on the holiday season coming up.

The holiday season can cause mixed feelings for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The holidays are a time for celebration to be sure, but families caring for someone with dementia can be experiencing a sense of loss and grief for the way things used to be. By adjusting your expectations and modifying your traditions, you may find new and meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays.

Here are a few tips from the Mayo Clinic that may help as you think about the upcoming holidays.

• Tone down decorations. Avoid blinking lights or large decorative displays that can cause confusion. Avoid decorations that cause clutter or require you to rearrange a familiar room.

• Avoid safety hazards. Substitute electric candles for burning candles. If you light candles, don’t leave them unattended. Avoid fragile decorations or decorations that could be mistaken for edible treats, such as artificial fruits. If you have a tree, secure it to the wall.

• Play favorite music. Familiar and favorite music is especially soothing and calming.

• Prepare together. Mix batter, decorate cookies, open holiday cards or make simple decorations. Focus on the task rather than the outcome.

• Host a small gathering. Aim to keep celebrations quiet and relaxed.

• Avoid disruptions. Plan a gathering at the best time of day for the person with dementia. Keep daily routines in place as much as possible.

• Provide a quiet place. If you are having guests over, provide a quiet place for the person with dementia to have time alone or to visit with one person at a time.

• Plan meaningful activities. You might read a favorite holiday story, look at photo albums, watch a favorite holiday movie or sing songs.

• Keep outings brief. If you’ll be attending a holiday gathering, plan to be brief or be prepared to leave if necessary. Make sure there is a place to rest or take a break.

• Simplify celebrations, planning ahead and setting boundaries can help you minimize stress and create a pleasant holiday experience for you and the person you care for. Source: Mayo Clinic

Begin each day with your favorite music. ~ Life’s Little Instruction Book

Feel free to reach out to Jayne Mund, caregiver consultant. A caregiver consultant can provide guidance and assist the caregiver in planning for and dealing with aspects of the care-giving experience. She can be reached at 651-257-7905 or jaynem@familypathways.org.

“The gateways to knowledge, tools and information are always open!”

For more information about the Cambridge ACT on Alzheimer’s call Julie Tooker at 763-691-6192. Your input and assistance is valuable! Let’s ACT together to create and sustain a dementia friendly community. There is Hope. There is Help.

Resources: www.alz.org & www.ACTonALZ.org.

• CambridgeACT Memory Café meets the second Thursday of each month from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Oct. 10 at the SAC’s Enrichment Center, 140 Buchanan St. N. Suite 164, Cambridge. Registration-Questions: Contact Angie Detert at 320-364-1115 or angie@familypathways.org to sign up and/or for more information.

• CambridgeACT Isanti Memory Café meets the fourth Thursday of each month on Oct. 24 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Spirit River Community, 1321 Heritage Blvd. NE, Isanti. Registration-Questions: Contact Julie Tooker at 763-691-6192 or jtooker@preshomes.org to sign up and-or for more information.

• Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group meets the third Tuesday of the month on Oct. 15 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the GracePointe Crossing Town Center, 1545 River Hills Parkway, Cambridge. Contact Molly Carlson for more information at mcarlson@preshomes.org or call 763-691-6172.

• Free Dementia Friends class being offered this fall session. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Adult Enrichment Center in Cambridge; Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Adult Enrichment Center in Cambridge; Wednesday Nov. 13. 2-3:30 p.m. at the Adult Enrichment Center in Cambridge. Contact Community Ed to sign up at 763-689-6189 to find out location of each session.

• Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter 24-hour helpline, 800-272-3900, www.alz.org/mnnd.

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