Holiday tips for families facing Alzheimer’s

Posted 11/5/21

As people conduct their holiday travel this year, planning and completing a long distance trip can be more stressful for the...

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Holiday tips for families facing Alzheimer’s

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As people conduct their holiday travel this year, planning and completing a long distance trip can be more stressful for the more than 6 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s and their families. While the symptoms of this progressive brain disease can sometimes make travel more difficult, it doesn’t mean families can’t travel with a loved one with dementia and participate in holiday festivities.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a number of tips to help ensure a safe and smooth trip when traveling with a person living with dementia. Some tips include:

• Consider COVID measures. It is important to check with state and travel agencies to make sure you have the latest information and adhere to protocols for travel.
• Stick with the familiar. Travel to known destinations. Try to visit places that are familiar to the person with Alzheimer’s.
• Be prepared. Create an itinerary that includes details. Give copies to family members or friends. Keep a copy with you.
• Pick the right time. Travel during the time of day that is best for the person with Alzheimer’s.
• Avoid layovers. If unavoidable, ask about airport escort services.
• Ask for help. For example, request airline personnel to help you navigate through the airport.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050, that number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million. Florida has the second-highest prevalence of the disease in the nation, with more than 580,000 residents currently battling the disease.

On Nov. 9, dementia experts will be hosting a program on how to navigate the holidays and keep your brain and body healthy. Amy Schenk, R.N., BSN, MSEd, program manager, Alzheimer’s Association, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, will discuss the different level of complexity Alzheimer’s caregivers face, give quick self-care tips, and advice on how to plan for travel, gift giving ideas, managing family celebrations and more.

Cynthia Perthuis, CSA, CDP, CADDCT, Alzheimer’s community educator, will talk about the latest research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement to help participants incorporate these recommendations into a plan for a healthy approach to the holidays.

A part of the Brain Bus program, this free virtual event is funded in partnership with State of Florida, Department of Elder Affairs and Area Agency on Aging of Pasco and Pinellas, Inc.

Registration for the event is available at bit.ly/alzhappyholidays or contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

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