· Simplify. The change in routine can be bewildering and upsetting. An Easter egg hunt, or taking up their former role in a large dinner such as the Passover Seder, can be disorienting for someone with memory loss and confusion. Rethink family traditions, and simplify. Pick and choose traditions that are the most important to you. Also, simplify the decorations, avoiding large crowds, and raucous noise can help reduce confusion. To ensure a safe environment, avoiding candles and artificial fruits and vegetables, which may be mistaken for the real thing, can be life-saving.
· Engage the person with Alzheimer’s — but aim to keep things at their usual pace. Someone with Alzheimer’s might enjoy simple tasks, such as decorating eggs or cookies. Or, reading a beloved scripture or story at home could be a meaningful alternative to visiting a place of worship. Do not force a person with Alzheimer’s to participate should they resist. As much as possible, try to stick to the same daily routine and schedule.
· If a loved one with Alzheimer’s lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, you could attempt to bring them home for a short visit beforehand to see if it goes well. For many with Alzheimer’s, being removed from familiar surroundings can be disorienting and upsetting. Please be mindful that even being around family members a person doesn’t see often can make the person with dementia anxious or fearful. If a home visit is too stressful, arrange for small group visits to the nursing home to minimize confusion and upset.
· Be sure to provide out-of-town visiting family members & relatives with the status of a loved one with Alzheimer’s ahead of time. This will help ensure everyone is better prepared during family gatherings.
· Delegate. Allow family members and friends to help with chores, such as baking. Also, letting others watch a loved one can be helpful – so you can take time for yourself.