Holiday Hacks for FTD-Related Challenges

Holiday Hack for FTD-Related Challenges

The holidays are upon us, with all the hustle and bustle. It can be a happy time for all. But it can come with challenges for those with FTD. AFTD’s Persons with FTD Advisory Council recently discussed those issues and talked about how we adapt, and we came up with the following “holiday hacks.” We hope that persons with FTD and care partners will develop a plan to make the holidays less frustrating and more enjoyable for all.

  1. All the party lights, music, loud talking, and children running around can be overwhelming.
  • Bring ear plugs.
  • Take a visor to help with the lights. If inclined, decorate it for the appropriate holiday.
  • Hang out in the bathroom for about 5-15 minutes if you need to re-group.
  • Pick a corner of the room and focus on just one person to talk to.
  • Ask about the details of the party and how long to expect. If too long (around two hours seems to be our limit), excuse yourself by saying something like, “I need to go feed the dog.”
  1. You’re at the dinner table and someone just plops down a piece of pumpkin pie in front of you without asking.
  • Express appreciation and slowly leave the table.
  • Comment that you are unable to eat it because you are allergic.
  • Help bring out the dessert so you can control what you are getting instead of having it handed to you.
  1. You have trouble remembering relatives’ and friends’ names.
  • Create a memory wall with appropriate pictures of people with their names. Play a game with it to test your skill.
  • Ask your care partner to help with introductions by naming the person.
  1. A young child is excitedly jumping around, asking you to play with them. But it is too stimulating, and your apathy is so bad today.
  • Ask them to get a puzzle or book — something quieter.
  • Have them get their favorite toy and talk about it. Let them do all the talking!
  • Say, “I would love to talk to you, but I need to pause for a moment.”
  1. Your speech is very difficult today. You can’t think of the words.
  • Don’t feel bad to ask for help when bombarded with multiple questions.
  • If asked, “Are you feeling better?”, try to be nice and just respond, “Unfortunately, there is no current cure for FTD.”
  1. Your family is telling stories from the past — mostly happy, but melancholy at times. You show no emotion, and they inquire if you are listening, or if you even care.
  • Even if you don’t feel it, read the room and respond appropriately. If people are laughing, crack a smile. If they are solemn, don’t smile.
  • Practice in the mirror several emotions and feel how your facial muscles move. Attempt to imitate.
  1. They give you a Christmas present and you don’t like it and would never use it.
  • Don’t say anything negative and just take it home.

Happy Holidays,

AFTD Persons with FTD Advisory Council
Teresa, Anne, Bob, Steve, Jennifer, Cindy, Sandy, and Kevin

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