5 Ways to Support Alzheimer’s Sufferers During the Holidays
Posted by Sherry C. on Friday, December 14th, 2012
The holiday season can be a stressful time for us all, but if you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the anxiety brought about by the season can be downright debilitating. Fortunately, there many ways to help Alzheimer’s patients feel more at ease during this busy season.
This is the time of year when family and friends gather to celebrate, and while most of us enjoy these gatherings, they can be a real struggle for those who have Alzheimer’s. Even traditional gatherings surrounded by loved ones can make them feel confused. Many Alzheimer’s patients suffer a decline in cognition and memory when confronted with such activities, so caregivers should take precautions to help them manage stress, and make it through family gatherings with minimal drama.
1. Focus on Nutrition. Many foods contain vitamins and minerals that can help reduce anxiety and produce a calming affect. Weeks before a gathering, make sure you’re serving foods chock full of these nutrients.
Here are some foods that not only help improve brain function, but can also help keep anxiety in check:
Berries – The antioxidants in berries help support brain function, which often suffers as a result of chronic stress. Give your loved-one healthy doses of berries to prepare them for the holiday onslaught of family and friends.
Fish – Choose fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anxiety-reducing qualities. Fish is also high in B vitamins that help reduce the affects of stress on the body.
Dark Chocolate – High in antioxidants and magnesium, a mineral that helps our body regulate anxiety, dark chocolate is easy to add to a patients diet because, let’s face it, everyone loves chocolate.
2. During the gathering, serve healthy versions of “comfort foods” that are familiar to and loved by the patient. The familiarity of these foods, combined with being in a familiar place will help the patient feel calmer during the festivities.
3. Host the party in a comfortable place. Don’t take your loved one to a strange place where they will immediately feel uncomfortable and can become disoriented. If you are the caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient, try to host any of the holiday gatherings so the patient will be familiar with the surroundings.
4. Keep the gathering small. Too many people at a party can be completely overwhelming for many of us, but especially for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. If you feel badly about not being able to invite certain friends or family, explain the reason it is important for you to keep the gathering small.
5. Explain the patient’s condition to attendees. Many friends and family members who don’t see the Alzheimer’s patient on a regular basis may not understand the disease and how to relate to someone suffering from it. It’s completely appropriate to prepare them for some of the behavior their loved one may exhibit. Advise them on ways they can make the Alzheimer’s patient feel more at ease: being patient and understanding, remaining calm, bringing an appropriate gift – whatever is most appropriate for your loved one.
All this hard work can you leave you frazzled, so make sure to treat yourself! Go get a massage or a fun holiday manicure, grab a cup of chamomile tea, and just relax.
For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.