August 17th, 2019

Aging with Grace…

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With the busy holiday season approaching, I’ve received inquiries from caregivers with concerns about the holidays.

Dear Grace,
My father, who is quite frail, is spending the holidays with us this year. I’m thrilled to have him and I want to make sure he feels included in all the festivities. How can I do that without exhausting him? I’m afraid he’ll get overtired and get sick.

Dear Shawna,
Have a discussion with your father and those close to him every day to find out what he can or cannot do, what his normal schedule is, does he nap, etc. When you make plans, try to schedule in any breaks or naps he is used to having and most of all just try to relax and enjoy having him with you.
Best Wishes,

Dear Grace,
My husband John has dementia and gets confused and angry in crowds. I know there will be a lot of company around for the holidays and we are also invited to a party at his sister’s house. I want both of us to enjoy these fun times but I’m really worried about how he’ll handle all the people and noise. What can I do to make this easier for both of us?

Dear Deb,
For your sister-in-law’s party, discuss your concerns with her and ask if there is a quiet area at her home where John can rest, if needed. Also when you arrive at her party, look for a spot to sit where John can see what’s going on but is not in the center of it. If someone else is going with you, take turns circulating and visiting so that John is never left by himself. This will help reassure him and lessen the agitation that comes from feeling lost. If he becomes upset or angry, cajole him into taking a break where it’s quieter.

It will be easier to manage his anxiety and confusion when you have friends and family at your house because everything is more familiar there. The same suggestions apply for how to handle the situation at home. Hopefully this will help you to relax and enjoy your holidays this year.

Effective Communication Strategies
Please join Project Independence Caregivers’ Support Group for a special FREE presentation on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 4:30-6 p.m. Pamela Beidler, Director of Programs & Outreach for the VT Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will lead an educational program on Effective Communication Strategies. This is a free program exploring how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s; learn how to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia and identify strategies to help connect and communicate at each stage of the disease. Please register in advance by calling Project Independence at 802.476.3630
If you have questions or are looking for information related to caring for an elder loved one or other individual with disabilities or health issues, please email me, deargrace@pibarre.org or write to Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Nain St. – Ste. 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283

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