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How to Respond When Loved Ones with Dementia are Confused

If you have elderly loved ones with dementia, you most likely have witnessed their depressing battle with memory loss and other cognitive limitations. It can be heart-wrenching to hear them forget family members and friends, fail to recall recent events, or talk about deceased loved ones who they believe are alive.

You may be feeling helpless and dejected, but there are strategies you can use to reduce stress, circumvent confusion, and maintain a healthy relationship with your aging loved ones.

Holiday Blues

While the holidays present many opportunities for joy, they can also bring feelings of sadness, commonly referred to as the "holiday blues." People often feel pressure to enjoy themselves during the holiday season, leading them to put on a happy face rather than trying to gain a deeper understanding of why they are depressed.

This season typically revolves around gathering with close friends and family members, yet many people feel isolated and alone during what is, for others, a time of high spirits and goodwill. This is particularly true for older adults. Age-related circumstances, lack of mobility, and loss of loved ones can all increase seniors' risk of facing the holiday blues.

Understanding why depression may occur around this time of year is the first step in helping prevent the holiday blues. If any of the above triggers are present in your loved one's life, you may want to start formulating a plan to promote their mental and emotional well-being this holiday season.

Sometimes, older adults begin to withdraw from favorite activities and seem to lose interest in life. This could be anhedonia, a common symptom of depression. 

The holidays are often filled with sharing, laughter and memories. But they can also bring stress, disappointment, sadness - and due to the COVID-19 pandemic - heightened risk for spreading the virus, especially for older adults who tend to have underlying health conditions. A person living with Alzheimer's may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes he or she has experienced. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed by maintaining traditions while providing care and adhering to safety precautions.

Maintain a Healthy Routine for Seniors During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused many unexpected disruptions in our daily lives, especially for seniors dealing with isolation at home and social distancing. The older adult population continues to be most vulnerable to the disease, and family members and in-home caregivers are making necessary precautions to  protect senior loved ones during the coronavirus.

While the sudden changes created by COVID-19 are preparing us all for a "new reality," it's also important to instill normal routines and schedules for seniors during this time of uncertainty.

Daily Routines are Important for Seniors

It may be difficult to think of effective ways to maintain or enhance the well-being of older adults under these complex conditions. With some lifestyle changes, your elderly loved ones can 

Making sure they stick to healthy routines and remain calm, comforted, and safe has never been more critical.