Those with Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes become isolated, with loved ones preferring to keep them safely tucked away at home. But social interaction can be beneficial for those living with the condition, so it’s important to try to include them as much as possible. If you have a family gathering coming up, there are some things you can do to make your loved one comfortable, while also keeping the event running smoothly.
Keep Gatherings Small
Noise can be a problem for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Try to reduce this as much as possible, including eliminating background music. Multiple people talking at once can also be disturbing to your loved one with Alzheimer’s. If you can keep the gathering small, it will likely be easier on the person, but if not, make sure you have a quiet space for your loved one to get away from the noise if necessary.
Choose the Right Time
You probably already know the times of day when your loved one has more energy and feels more alert. Try to plan your event to maximize that schedule. Many Alzheimer’s patients experience increased agitation and confusion later in the day, for instance, so a morning or early afternoon get-together may be the best option.
If it’s a family gathering, chances are everyone in attendance will be willing to help out. At least a couple of people should be tasked with keeping an eye on your loved one for safety reasons. But it’s also important to make sure those family members make sure your loved one interacts with others at the event. That will give you a little relief, freeing you up to socialize or help out the host if needed.
Before your loved one shows up at the event, it can help to prepare at least some of the attendees ahead of time. Let trusted family members know what to expect and ask them to share that information with others who will be there. Explain that the person’s behavior can be unpredictable and describe any changes they may notice since they last saw their loved one. This will at least help your initial arrival go more smoothly.
Maintain Normal Routines
The best thing you can do is help your loved one stick to the regular routine. If your family gathering spans more than a few hours, you may find your loved one has to stay overnight in an unfamiliar place, making this more complicated. Try to maintain the same bedtime and meal times that your loved one has on any other day in order to keep things consistent. Alzheimer’s patients thrive on that routine and if you veer too far off, it could exacerbate symptoms.
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t have to get in the way of spending time with family members. If your loved one is living with the condition, some careful planning can help make those gatherings happen while also allowing you to enjoy the event. Make sure you draw on the support your family members are likely all too willing to give.