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Stress, loss and sadness – no holiday for people with dementia and their caregivers

walk-for-memoriesThe Alzheimer Society of Ontario knows that for people with dementia and their caregivers, the holidays can bring stress, sense of loss, tension and sadness.

“The holidays can be a tough time of year for caregivers. The business of the season, gatherings with friends and family and the fact that many day programs close present challenges,” said Sharon Rozsel, caregiver for her mother. “To caregivers, I have some simple advice for you: Plan ahead to help someone with dementia and yourself get the most out of the holidays. Nobody is going to do it for you.”

For people living with dementia, the holiday season may bring its fair share of stress, sense of loss, tension, confusion or sadness.

To help ease these difficulties and make the most of the holiday season, the Alzheimer Society created a new holiday page on its website,  complete with tips and other resources.
Tips will be added weekly:
Dec. 2nd – Gift-ideas-for-people-with-dementia
Dec. 9th – Making the house safe for someone with dementia
Dec. 16th – Visiting someone with dementia over the holidays
Dec. 23rd – How to make the holidays special for someone with dementia
Dec. 30th – How caregivers can better care for themselves

Here’s a sample:
If you are gift shopping for someone in the early stage of the disease, give a present that will encourage the maintenance of certain abilities and slow the progression of the disease. If they are in the later stages, look for gifts that provide sensory stimulation and help bring back pleasant memories, like a CD of their favourite music.

Telehealth Ontario can connect family caregivers of people with dementia to support, advice, and referral when the local Alzheimer Society or other organizations are closed. The free service is available by dialing 1-866-797-0000.

Also, make a list of doctors and pharmacies that are open during the holidays in case of emergencies.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting men and women of all races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. It is not a normal part of aging and no one is immune.

The Alzheimer Society Walk for Memories raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and education. Held annually in more than 65 communities across Ontario, the event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to help support people living with dementia.
Funds raised at the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County event will support programs and services offered in the local community.

The County’s events are Saturday, Jan. 25 from 1p.m. – 3p.m. at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and the Wellington Community Centre.

Walkers who raise at least $1,500 will have their names entered into a draw for two return tickets from Westjet where ever they fly in North America.

“This very generous donation from Westjet will be available to walkers in the Hastings-Prince Edward area – those walking in Picton, Wellington, Trenton, Belleville and Bancroft,” said Laura Hare, interim executive director.

In addition, Via Rail has donated two return tickets for any stop in the Belleville-Quebec City corridor.  This will be awarded to the top fundraiser in the Picton-Wellington walks.

The Picton and Wellington walks are being organized by volunteers Lyn McGowan, Janet Lyons, Tammy Doxtator-Jones and Melanie Payne.

For details, sponsoring a walker, or participating, call  613 476-2085 or visit

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