The winter season brings along with it many different festivals and holidays and, for many residents of the Regional District of Fraser – Fort George, socializing with family, friends and our wider community. The current COVID-19 situation is presenting new challenges and uncertainty to what can be an already stressful time – a feeling that is even more acute for people affected by dementia in Prince George, Mackenzie, McBride, Valemount and other area communities.
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 two free webinars this month.
“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons,” said Carly Gronlund, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Provincial Coordinator. “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 and that uncertainty can add additional challenges for people living with dementia, caregivers, family members and friends.
In the first of the two webinars, caregivers will learn how to adapt their plans to minimize stress during the holiday season. This one-hour session will be held on Wednesday, November 18 at 2 p.m. and will provide strategies on several topics, including gift giving and visiting in care.
The second session will be the first of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s new ‘Lived experience’ webinar series which is created by people with lived experience of the disease. In this webinar, on Wednesday, November 25 at 2 p.m., two people living with dementia will share the impact of COVID-19 on their preparations for this 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,” Carly says.
Attend a webinar
The Society hosts free dementia education webinars every week for anyone affected by dementia or interested in learning more. The upcoming webinar schedule includes:
* Preparing for the holidays during COVID-19 (Wednesday, November 18, 2 p.m.):
Explore strategies for adapting your plans to minimize stress and to maximize connection – safely.
* Lived experience: Preparing for the holidays during COVID-19 (Wednesday, November 25, 2 p.m.): Hear from people living with dementia as they share the impact of COVID-19 on their preparations for this holiday season.
* Virtual visits: Making the most of video calling (Wednesday, December 2, 2 p.m.): Explore strategies to maximize success when video calling.
* Long distance caregiving (Wednesday, December 9, 2 p.m.): Practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance. For caregivers.
* Driving and dementia (Wednesday, December 16, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia may affect a person’s driving abilities and strategies to ease the transition for driving cessation. For caregivers and people living with dementia.
To register for any of these webinars, please visit alzbc.org/webinars.