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Dementia Care | November 7, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

Family Reunions And Dementia

family-making-a-toast-at-dinnerThere are many people who look forward to family reunions as if offers the change to reconnect with your loved ones. For seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, however, this is not always a positive experience. If you are taking a senior with memory loss or dementia to a family reunion in the near future, consider these tips to make the entire situation easier and more comfortable or everyone:

Tip #1 – Let Others Know What To Expect

If your other family members do not visit on a regular basis, chances are that they have no clue that your loved one is experiencing memory loss. Oftentimes this situation is confusing and heartbreaking. Make sure that people are aware of the condition before meeting up. There are often day-to-day fluctuations in recall abilities for most people with memory loss, which means that you might not know their state until right before the reunion.

Tip #2 – Prepare Ahead Of Time

Different types of memory loss can impact both long and short-term memories. Sometimes people have short-term memory loss, but can remember every gift they received for Christmas at age eight. Sometimes it is the long-term memory that goes. There will be a varied experience for each of those people who attend a family reunion. Chances are that your loved one will not recognize who the younger attendees are but can recognize siblings and cousins. By helping your loved one study ahead of time, you can help them recall who will be present at the reunion. Perhaps it is a good idea to get pictures of everyone who will attend the event and write down their name on a photo. By talking about these people for a few minutes each day, it might be possible to get the ball rolling.

Tip #3 – Assess As You Go Along

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have more side effects than just memory loss. People who cannot remember things often become agitated and confused. There is a good chance that a reunion is going to throw off your loved one, especially because it is quite different from their normal routine. Perhaps it is a good idea to stay close to your loved one to offer some calming words or help them get away from the hectic proceedings for a bit. Seniors might also want to return home after a few hours, despite the fact that most family members are going to spend all day at the event.