Today is American Thanksgiving. Being north of the border we have already eaten turkey and hopefully have given thanks for all we have. However, many American families will be getting together to share a meal. Many will be driving or flying so that they can be with their families. Many of these adult children are also long distance caregivers to their aged parents or other relatives. A recent article from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance in their article Home Care: Closing the Gap for Long-Distance Caregivers highlights that for Americans “seniors live an average of more than 280 miles from their nearest (adult) child. In many cases, the kids have moved away to pursue their own careers. In others, Mom and Dad made the move, often retiring to a warmer climate. Either way, distance is the new reality for many of today’s families.”
Dr. George Huba summarized the US Thanksgiving as “Thursday is the big day of excessive eating, excessive television viewing (especially of football), excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive noise, excessive bickering, excessive arguing, excessive chaos, and excessive assorted silliness.” He has provided some tips through a mind map to highlight supporting a family member with dementia through holiday and family dinners.
Large family gatherings can be difficult for those with dementia. Dr. Huba says “it just takes a little planning and a little tolerance for ‘changed’ behavior. And a lot of love.” Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers.