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How to help loved ones with Alzheimer’s this holiday season

(KTIV) - While this time of year is usually filled with holiday cheer, the season can be hard for those with Alzheimer's and their families.

Leaders with the Alzheimer's Association said the holidays could be especially hard this year because of the pandemic.

Acacia Deadrick, a program specialist, said it's important to try and continue to have contact with loved ones in long-term care facilities even if it's just a zoom call. She added especially this year it's okay to scale back and maybe do only one holiday tradition instead of trying to squeeze them all in.

"You definitely want to consider how hard the year has been and how the pandemic has affected their social outlet and their emotional well being. Take that all into consideration and try to do something that helps them," said Deadrick.

And the Alzheimer's Association wants to make sure people know the warning signs of the disease this holiday season.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease, especially in the early stage.

Other signs can include forgetting important dates or events and asking for the same questions over and over. It can also create challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks and confusion with time or place.

More signs include trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations, new problems with words in speaking or writing, and misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

A person living with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places and may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.

And lastly, changes in mood and personality can occur.

Decreased or poor judgment, withdrawal from work or social activities are more signs of Alzheimer's disease. Those with Alzheimer's can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.

All those warning signs are according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Deadrick said if you are able to see your loved ones in person, be sure to communicate with the individual's caregivers.

"Make sure that you have an open conversation with anybody who is planning to see them as well. Especially this year, you probably haven't seen your loved one as much as normal," said Deadrick. "So let everyone know, if you're the caregiver, let anybody know what their state is. If they've had significant changes in their cognitive abilities so that their loved ones can be prepared for that."

Deadrick added try to take as much off your plate as possible to enjoy any time you can get with your loved ones.

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Emily Schrad

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