Monday, November 26, 2007

Dementia often first noticed at holidays

It was at large gatherings that the Holladay family first noticed their mother was suffering from dementia. She couldn't find the bathroom in a family member's home.
She sat at the edges of a party, too confused to interact with the family.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer's followed for the now 75-year-old woman.
The signs of early dementia may be disguised during the year, when sufferers can rely on habit. But mess with the routine - as the holidays do - and the signals become obvious, Foster said.
Other real-life examples of dementia surfacing around the holidays: A patient who forgot to buy presents for all of her grandchildren.
Another who bought every grandchild, boys and girls, the same gift. A father who flew to meet his son for Christmas and didn't recognize him at the airport.
Stick with the familiar. Maintain routines and skip strange and noisy restaurants.
* Keep it small. Large family get togethers "become too disruptive," Genebach said.
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