Look out for changes in loved ones with dementia this Christmas

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Alzheimer’s Australia NSW is urging anybody visiting a loved one with dementia these Christmas holidays to look out for changes in their condition, particularly if it may have been a while since you last saw them.


Christmas celebrations offer a time for families and friends to come together, prior to which they might not have seen one another for long periods of time. It is in these instances that changes in thinking, memory and behaviour can be the most apparent.


Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins AM said Christmas is a time for families to come together and celebrate.


“Distance and our busy lives can mean these Christmas get-togethers present rare opportunities to catch up,” Mr Watkins said.


“For that reason, if you have a loved one with dementia it is important to be mindful of their symptoms. We’re encouraging families to use this festive season as an opportunity to re-assess their loved one’s condition and situation. This is important in identifying whether or not there has been a change in behaviours or a worsening of symptoms, and if so, determining whether further assessment and support from your GP or other health professional may be needed.”


If you do notice major changes in a loved one’s behaviour, or believe that their health condition has deteriorated, you should contact your GP, health professional or local emergency department. You can also call the National Dementia Helpline during business hours on 1800 100 500 for support.


The Alzheimer’s Australia website at fightdementia.org.au offers a wealth of dementia-related information. The National Dementia Helpline, however, offers an added layer of support and reassurance. Dementia experts will listen to you, discuss your concerns, and offer compassion and empathy, while providing advice. We’ll talk to you in-depth to help assess your situation and suggest appropriate support strategies.


In many instances, a call to the National Dementia Helpline acts as the gateway to an ongoing relationship with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW that endures and continues to provide support throughout all stages of dementia. The National Dementia Helpline will be operated during business hours over the Christmas holiday period, excluding weekends and public holidays.