Holidays with Alzheimer’s – 3 Fabulous Ways to Enjoy Festive Occasions with Dementia Sufferers

Holidays for Alzheimer's

Halloween is just a month away, and immediately, the major holiday season begins in the U.S.

Celebrating holidays with Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers is challenging. Probably no other holidays trigger the emotions of the elderly like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it is because these momentous holidays often dig up memories of their youth, or it reminds them of being together with an entire family, or loss of other loved ones.

These memorable occasions can bring laughter and joy, or they can become depressing and cause sorrow and tears. In addition, you might have children and other adults that don’t want to spend their holiday with someone who is suffering from a debilitating illness, such as Alzheimer’s. They might feel afraid, or they might not know what to say.

This article discusses how to enjoy the holidays with Alzheimer’s or dementia sufferers. You will learn what you can expect, and the best way to bring joy for everyone.

 

Alzheimer’s and Holiday Depression

 

Across the nation, people get into their cars and deal with heavy holiday traffic. They also endure crowded lines at the airport to try and visit family. During this same time, seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other related memory loss are sitting quietly in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at home with a family member.

Some of them are also awaiting Thanksgiving or Christmas, but they realize that some or all of their family will have forgotten them. This can lead to holiday depression, and make their lives worse. What is the sense of living when your own family refuses to visit you? If you have a senior in an assisted living facility, or might be staying with someone else in your family, take the time to let them know you still love them and care about them. Try and visit them if you can, or at least call them.

 

Have a Talk with Your Kids

 

If you have kids of your own, you need to have a conversation with them about Alzheimer’s. The last thing that you want to happen is that they visit your elderly loved one and they feel uncomfortable around them. Alzheimer’s patients are also known to have emotional outbursts or yell at the ones they love. If you explain these situations to your kids in advance, they won’t feel frightened and might have a marvelous time.

 

3 Fabulous Ways to Enjoy the Holidays with Alzheimer’s Family Members

 

The best way to enjoy the holidays with an Alzheimer’s family member is preparation. You need to be ready for the encounter, and you need to simplify the time and activities for the best results. Here are some popular ideas:

• Enjoy a Quiet Time Together – You might first think that breaking out the CD player and music is a brilliant idea. Well, it might be if you are certain that this is something your loved one wants. Unfortunately, a lot of music or blinking Christmas lights can become distracting and annoying to some Alzheimer’s sufferers. Why not enjoy a quiet holiday? Save the party atmosphere for the New Year celebrations if your loved one can handle that.

• Share Photos – One terrific idea is to share photos. You can make photos of you and your family in advance and present them to your loved one. You can also use a digital camera and take some shots together with your senior loved one and bring along a decent printer and photo paper and give them an almost instant keepsake (You could also purchase another frame in advance for this purpose).

Speaking of sharing photos, why not dig out some of the old photos of your loved one when they were younger? You can get them digitally enhanced and framed. There is nothing better than having them looking at an event in their lifetime that meant so much to them.

• Skype with Other Members – If other family members couldn’t make it because they might live on the other end of the country with a big family of their own, why not connect them via the Internet? Skype has a powerful function that allows you to video chat with others for free. Skype also lets you make conference calls, so you can have multiple family members joining a call at the same time. That is an excellent way of bringing everyone together without breaking the piggy bank.

 

Holidays with Alzheimer’s – Conclusion

 

Make the best of your holidays with an Alzheimer’s family member. You can make it an enjoyable time for everyone. Remember to prepare most of your visit in advance.

Make sure you have photos ready. Check to see if your laptop and Skype are ready to roll, and contact your family members so they can all be online at the same time.

If you have kids, then you should educate them about Alzheimer’s. Holidays can also be sad times for many seniors. By following some of the suggestions in this article, you should be able to make it a memorable holiday for everyone in your family.

 

 

 

Best Alzheimer's Treatment

Best Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common, destructive, and enigmatic diseases in the world today. It affects millions of people in the United States and abroad, but scientists still have only a poor understanding of how the disease works and what can be done to stop it. For Alzheimer’s patients and their families, however, three types of Alzheimer’s treatments offer some hope of slowing down the disease.

 

 

 

Cholinesterase Inhibitors

 

One of the most popular and influential classes of Alzheimer’s drugs is a group of chemicals called cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs work by helping to boost the availability of acetylcholine, a chemical the brain uses to stay alert, make decisions, and retrieve memories.

Alzheimer’s reduces the availability of acetylcholine, impairing brain function. Cholinesterase-inhibiting drugs like donepezil and rivastigmine work by preventing the brain from breaking down acetylcholine. This leaves the brain with more of the important chemical available to keep things running smoothly.

Unfortunately, cholinesterase inhibitors aren’t a cure, and they don’t treat the disease itself. They reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, much like taking a pain killer might make a broken arm feel better but won’t help heal the bone. That said, this class of drugs can help slow the progression of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

 

Memantine and Vitamin E

 

Doctors often prescribe a different drug called memantine for Alzheimer’s patients with more advanced cases. The drug works by restricting production of another brain chemical called glutamate. In proper concentrations, glutamate helps the brain to function by allowing neurons to communicate with each other. Alzheimer’s can increase the concentration of glutamate to dangerous levels, however, killing brain cells. Memantine helps to counteract that problem.

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a combination of vitamin E and memantine slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with a moderate to severe form of the illness. However, those with moderate Alzheimer’s responded better to vitamin E alone. Neither memantine alone, or taken in combination with vitamin E slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s in its moderate form.

Like cholinesterase inhibitors, however, memantine cannot treat the underlying disease. It can only hope to reduce the acceleration of the disease and help patients to retain more brain function for a few extra months or years.

Additionally, memantine is not effective for mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institute on Aging. Doctors typically prescribe the drug only for moderate and severe cases.

 

Other Therapies

 

Although drugs have proved only marginally effective in the battle against Alzheimer’s, some other healthy practices may reduce the risk of developing the disease and slow its progression. Specifically, several studies show that mental and physical exercise can reduce Alzheimer’s risk in many people.

A recent survey published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience provided some of the strongest evidence that physical exercise can reduce the possibility of the disease. Alzheimer’s is strongly associated with the shrinking of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory formation. Scientists scanned the brains of dozens of seniors at risk of Alzheimer’s over a period of several months. The results indicated that those who exercised regularly suffered less shrinkage of the hippocampus, suggesting a stronger defense against the disease.

Mental exercise may be even more important than physical exercise, according to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. They report that regular mental activity like memory games, crossword puzzles, and practicing foreign languages can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 70 percent. Scientists aren’t sure why mental aerobics work so well, but they recommend it for all aging people.

 

Alzheimer’s Treatments – Conclusion

 

Doctors believe that the best Alzheimer’s treatments begin early. Taking a high enough dosage is also a factor in how effective the medicine is for seniors.