The Alzheimer’s Association gives tips for families facing holiday gathering decisions

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA, W.Va (WDTV) - Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate with family, But the COVID-19 pandemic might keep that from happening for some.

As West Virginia coronavirus cases and hospitalizations increase, Alzheimer’s caregivers find themselves caught in a difficult situation.

They’re caught between trying to keep their loved ones safe and allowing them to participate in thanksgiving family traditions.

Local experts such as Teresa Morris from the Alzheimer’s Association give us some tips for families facing holiday gathering decisions.

“Maybe, if the weather’s nice, maybe doing some porch visits where the person with the disease is sitting on the porch and the family can have more of a picnic type meal,” says Morris."

More tips include:

● Be Safe: Encourage attendees to follow safety protocols during the celebration, including hand washing, and the use of hand sanitizer and masks, as appropriate.

● Take a person-centered approach: Focus on what is enjoyable for the person living with Alzheimer’s. If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, turn your holiday dinner into a holiday lunch or brunch.

● Keep it simple: Instead of potluck-style gatherings, encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and members of that household only.

● Connect with your family member virtually: Consider taking the call to the next level by conducting a holiday activity such as baking cookies.

● Prepare a favorite holiday meal or dessert: Make plans to prepare your loved one’s favorite holiday meal or dessert. If you are unable to share the meal in-person, drop it off or have it delivered.

The Alzheimer’s Association toll-free 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 is available to help families navigate disease-related challenges, including those resulting from the current pandemic.

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