The winter season brings with it many different festivals and holidays, and for many Delta residents, socializing with family, friends and our wider community. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is adding new challenges and uncertainty to what can be an already stressful time — a feeling that is even more acute for people affected by dementia.
Remembering a grandchild’s name, being included in group conversations or visiting a new place are all experiences that may challenge a person living with the disease and affect their experience of the holidays. To increase awareness and provide strategies to help local caregivers and people living with dementia prepare for the holidays during COVID-19, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is offering free webinars this month and next.
“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons,” Carly Gronlund, provincial co-ordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C., said in a press release. “Large groups of people, different activities happening at the same time, background noise, unfamiliar places and visual stimulus like flickering candles, these factors can all easily lead to sensory overload for a person living with dementia.”
This year’s holiday gatherings will undoubtedly look different than usual, and that uncertainty can add additional challenges for people living with dementia and their caregivers, family members and friends.
The session scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. will be the first of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s new “Lived experience” webinar series created by people with lived experience of the disease. Two people living with dementia will share the impact of COVID-19 on their preparations for the holiday season. This session will focus on the experience that people living with dementia have and explore why it looks different, including the differences for someone who lives with a partner compared to someone who lives alone in the community.
“It’s important to understand what a person may find challenging so that we can adapt accordingly. Even small changes can make a big difference and ensure everyone has the best holiday experience possible,” Gronlund said.
The society hosts free dementia education webinars every Wednesday at 2 p.m. for anyone affected by dementia or interested in learning more. Other upcoming webinars include:
• Virtual visits: Making the most of video calling (Dec. 2): Explore strategies to maximize success when video calling.
• Long distance caregiving (Dec. 9): Practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance.
• Driving and dementia (Dec. 16): Learn how dementia may affect a person’s driving abilities and strategies to ease the transition for driving cessation. For both caregivers and people living with dementia.
To register for any of these webinars, visit alzbc.org/webinars.