Celebrate Thanksgiving With COVID and Dementia
Thanksgiving brings memories of large family gatherings for many people. It is often a time when people travel long distances to see family members that haven’t seen recently.
This year, Thanksgiving across the US will probably look a lot different. COVID-19 has invaded our lives. And it attacks the elderly with a vengeance. Folks older than 65 are at a much higher risk than their children and grandchildren. And children have long been known to bring home every virus they find. With a strong immune system their bodies can easily fight off the invaders. But their grandparents may not be able to. And COVID -19 is not just any virus. It is deadly.
So, what do you do about Thanksgiving this year?
After posing this question on Facebook to a couple of thousand people we found that most people were still planning on celebrating. However most said the event would be scaled down. Instead of 20 or 30 relatives all together there would be smaller gatherings. Some said they were only having their immediate family. While others said they may have a few siblings over for a visit.
Here in Texas the weather is often mild. As such many families suggested they would do a lot of the gathering outdoors. A smoked or deep-fried turkey brings some of the cooking to the outside. And if you have a nice covered area it can be pleasant to sit outside and visit. A combination of inside and outside activities will also help with social distancing.
Good news for caregivers of someone with dementia.
“My husband has Alzheimer’s disease. Having a lot of people around can be confusing for him. Large gatherings tend to cause agitation.” Said Joan B. “I am happy that the gatherings will be smaller this year due to COVID. It certainly makes it easier for me and for John”
Joan is not alone in her feelings. Big family gatherings during the holidays often cause a lot of stress for the caregivers. Scaled down events will make the holiday much more pleasant.
Another person, Jamie, said she and her siblings would all celebrate in their own home. And since she is the primary caregiver for her mom, she would have Mom over to her house. Jamie’s husband Bob will help all the siblings connect on the big TV and they will say grace and eat together. This will definingly be a unique Thanksgiving celebration.
For those who have a relative in a memory care home or other facility there will most likely be certain rules in place.
Texas COVID Rules
Here in Texas visitation is just starting to be allowed. And it is limited. Visitation may be limited to only a few pre-determined visitors. It may be outside visitation only. And the rules may change. Check with your facility and plan accordingly.
And remember if your loved one has dementia; they may not even remember what the holiday is or that it is even a holiday. What they will notice though is your mood and how you are behaving. If you are happy most likely they will be happy too. So, whatever happens let your disappointment go, put on your happy face and enjoy the moments you do have.
All in all, Americans will do what they always do. And that is to innovate. The purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks. Our traditions may change a little this year, but the goal and purpose will remain the same. Connect with family and give thanks for all we have.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in
"The Light Heart Way"
to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care.