The Alzheimer Society of B.C. hosts free weekly webinars to help those dealing with dementia. (Photo credit: Stock image)

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. hosts free weekly webinars to help those dealing with dementia. (Photo credit: Stock image)

Holidays can be challenging for those dealing with dementia

Free webinars provide strategies for coping with dementia-related issues

The winter season brings with it many different festivals and holidays, and a large part of them is being with family and friends. The current COVID-19 situation is adding new challenges and uncertainty to what can be an already stressful time; a feeling that is even more acute for people affected by dementia.

Remembering a grandchild’s name, being included in group conversations, or visiting a new place are all experiences that may challenge a person living with the disease and affect their experience of the holidays. This year’s holiday gatherings will undoubtedly look different, and that uncertainty can add additional challenges for people living with dementia, caregivers, family members, and friends.

“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons,” Carly Gronlund, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Provincial Coordinator, explains. “Large groups of people, different activities happening at the same time, background noise, unfamiliar places, and visual stimulus like flickering candles: these factors can all easily lead to sensory overload for a person living with dementia.

“It’s important to understand what a person may find challenging, so that we can adapt accordingly. Even small changes can make a big difference and ensure everyone has the best holiday experience possible.”

To increase awareness and provide strategies to help caregivers and people living with dementia prepare for the holidays during COVID-19, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is offering help. The society hosts free dementia education webinars every Wednesday at 2 p.m. for anyone affected by dementia or interested in learning more.

On Nov. 18, caregivers will learn how to adapt their plans to minimize stress and maximize connection during the holiday season. This session will provide strategies on several topics, including gift giving and visiting in care.

Nov. 25 will be the first of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s new “Lived Experience” webinar series, which has been created by people with lived experience of the disease. In this webinar, two people living with dementia will share the impact of COVID-19 on their preparations for this holiday season. The session will focus on the experience that people living with dementia have and explore why it looks different, including the differences for someone who lives with a partner compared to someone who lives alone in the community.

On Dec. 2 the webinar will be “Virtual Visits: Making the most of video calling”, which explores strategies to maximize success when video calling. “Long Distance Caregiving” is the subject of the webinar on Dec. 9, and will look at practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance. On Dec. 16 the topic is “Driving and Dementia”: learn how dementia may affect a person’s driving abilities, and strategies to ease the transition for driving cessation.

To register for any of these webinars, visit

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Alzheimer's Disease