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4th of July and Dementia

June 6, 2017

Independence day is coming upon us and for most people, it means parties, fireworks, and fun but for someone with Dementia, it means confusion, loud booming, and bad memories. 

Parties, in general, are hard for people who have Dementia because there are many faces some that the loved one hasn't seen in years and they probably don't remember. There is also that awkward introduction of 'do you remember so-and-so', along with that is 'do you remember the time when?' This can frustrate the loved one with Dementia because they can feel bad for not remembering someone or an event they should remember. Mix that with children running around yelling and loud booming from fireworks, it can really push someone over the edge and they can become combative. Name tags can be helpful at these events and also focus on how the loved one feels and not so much on trying to get them to remember something. Let them help inside with supervision to make a dessert they use to always make. 

Large crowds can make it easy for people with Dementia to get lost and combative so keep a companion who they recognize close and when the fireworks start, make sure to keep an eye on the loved one. Fireworks are pretty and exciting but can bring back hard memories for someone who has Dementia and is a veteran. It is very common for Veterans to thrown into a flashback of being in a war or being shot at. The best thing to do with people who have Dementia is have someone stay with them and do small fireworks early and they can do party poppers and snappers but nothing with fire. If the family works the loved one in slowly with the fireworks it is helpful instead of just throwing them into a big fireworks show. If the loved one is getting tired then let them go to bed and if they live at home then have someone stay the night with them to ensure they are okay through the night.

Dementia can be tricky around the Holidays and large parties and crowds are already hard for those with Dementia but taking precautions they loved one can have the same fun as everyone else. Working them in slowly to the loud fireworks can be helpful and let them do some fireworks won't make them feel any different from anyone else.

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