At this time of year, the sisterhood of mom’s and grandmas will gather for the holidays with the people they love. It is a time to give, to thank and celebrate the season. But what if you can’t remember the holidays, your grandchildren’s names or what you ate for dinner. For those women suffering from progressive memory loss, it is a long and difficult journey.
It is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and a time to shine a spotlight on the diseases that rob women of their precious memory. The National Institute on Aging reports that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Almost two-thirds of Americans with the disease are women! They are also diagnosed at a greater risk than men are and two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women!
No one wants to see the women they love struggling to remember to dress, use the bathroom or brush their teeth. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments, medications, strategies, and support.
The holidays are stressful for any family, even with planning and preparation. It is important to help create a comfortable setting for the women we love. There are some helpful tips for the holidays…
- Focus on happiness and being together
- Be patient, don’t interrupt, let them talk and share stories
- Play familiar music — it stirs the memory
- Look through old photo albums or watch a favorite movie
- Let them help with the planning, setting the table and keeping busy
- Remember to allow them a time and a place to rest and relax
Consult before you travel
Traveling for the holidays can create gridlock for everyone and a time when patience is required to get to our destinations. Please be mindful that some patients may feel less comfortable in socializing with large groups of people. They may have difficulty with loud noises or stressful situations. It is best to consult a doctor before traveling long distances. Maybe this is the year to stay home and bring the holidays to them.
Instead of wearing pumpkin colors to the Thanksgiving table, break out the purple hair to honor those fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Remember to share the joy of being together and be thankful for the memories.
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The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.