Navigating Social Gatherings with People Suffering from Dementia Pt 2
In this first part of this article we discussed ways to help you, the friends and family, make your social gatherings stress-free and meaningful for everyone. In this article, part two, we will discuss ways to help the person with Alzheimer’s ordementia have a great experience.
The person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia
Declining cognitive function is a confusing and difficult process for someone’s family members and friends, but particular for the person themselves. Often, depending on the stage of their disease, they are frustrated because they can’t remember things and feel awkward interacting with others that they are slowly becoming unfamiliar with. The reality is Alzheimer’s and dementia are terrible diseases that greatly affect and change a persons life forever. Though you may not be able to affect a persons progression and their disease, you can help them enjoy their life and make it as meaningful as possible. Here are some ways you can help someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia have a successful social gathering.
Get them prepared far In advance.
Try not to plan very many last-minute activities, as preparation is key to a person enjoying themselves, having had multiple reminders and times of communication as to what they might expect. Tell them all about what they will experience and who they will be seeing. Talk about what they will experience, related to things that are familiar to them. For example, if longtime friends will be coming to this event, talk about stories your loved one may remember about these friends, share stories about the food you’re going to eat that you may have eaten in the past and even talk about stories of the venue that you might have shared previously. This brings up the important point. One way to help curb any potential for friction is to plan food and invite guests based on the level of familiarity your loved one has with them. Try to incorporate and involve your loved one’s favorite foods, some of your loved ones closest friends and most familiar and fun activities.
Keep it short, sweet and early.
To keep your loved one from becoming frustrated or agitated in any situation, you want to make sure to keep the event they are attending to no more than a couple hours. They may have a routine of taking a nap, so you’ll want to keep them to their routine as much as possible. This includes consistent mealtimes and frequent breaks. You also want to plan your events earlier in the day to avoid confusion that arises in the evening, common in people with dementia. Short events leave less opportunity for potentially awkward and negative interaction and the less likely your loved one will feel uncomfortable.
Always have a back up plan
In the event your love one becomes agitated or frustrated, be ready to change the venue of your event and even the event’s activities. If your loved one is living in an assisted living and memory care facility, like Woodhaven Village in Conroe, a good idea might be to bring a meal to the environment they are familiar with. If you communicate the need for flexibility to those attending the event, it’ll be easier to change plans in the moment.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is a difficult journey, and at Woodhaven village Senior Living, we want to help you every step along the way.