How can I adapt family celebrations for a loved one with dementia?

Since crowds, noise, and altering routines can aggravate confusion and other behavioral problems in people with dementia, revising your get-togethers may be in order. For example, instead of entertaining the whole clan, limit the number of attendees at a celebratory dinner or spread out several smaller gatherings on different days. Mark a calendar with upcoming visits to make your loved one feel special. 

Also, stick with familiar settings. Because new environments can increase disorientation and pose safety concerns, discard restaurants or relatives' houses in favor of your own home.

Avoid alcohol, which may cause depression, increase the risk of falls, and add to the loss of brain cells. Try to schedule celebrations or visits earlier in the day before the potential for sundowning -- behavioral problems that typically occur toward dusk among those in the middle stages of dementia. And, in preparing for family celebrations, do not rearrange furniture or create obstacles -- both are accidents waiting to happen.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.