Alzheimers and the Holidays
Tips for Caregivers: Holidays
When you are a familial caregiver of an individual with Alzheimers disease; then one of the most difficult times of the year can be the holidays. When the holidays come around it can sometimes be difficult to find happiness in these often joyous events. However, there are a few things that you can do to help make holidays with your loved one more enjoyable and learn to savor and appreciate this time that you have together.
Setting Realistic Expectations
The key to a successful holiday with a family member with Alzheimers is to start with realistic expectations about how the holiday will go. Keep in mind what your loved one with dementia is capable of. Also, try to keep your expectations a little lower, as the change in the daily routine for an Alzheimers that the holidays can bring can sometimes be overwhelming as change can cause frustration and confusion in Alzheimers patients. If you go into the process with realistic expectations you are less likely to be disappointed in how things proceed.
Keeping the Family Involved
Make sure you keep the entire family involved with the holiday planning and communicate your concerns beforehand so everyone is on the same page. When everyone is one the same page with the holiday, everybody can work together to be a strong family unit and work together to make the best out of the holiday. Everyone should try to keep things low key and avoid loud noises or big crowds to help keep your family member at ease.
You will want to make sure that you are including the children in your family, but that you are taking the time to prepare them for any behaviors that may upset children.
Planning the Right Activities
Make sure that you plan activities that can include the individual with Alzheimers and that wont overwhelm them. If they are still able to play cards, then consider adding this activity to your evening. If they are just able to sit and enjoy conversation then keep things low key. You will also want to try to avoid excess alcohol at the event and make sure that you keep the holiday area clear from any furniture or obstacles that can cause falls.
Keeping Traditions Live
Just because you are making some changes to the holidays it doesnt mean that you have to abandon traditions. Try to keep your traditions alive, especially ones that may be meaningful to the person with Alzheimers. If they enjoy going to mass, make sure you still attend mass. If you are keeping gift giving traditions try to help your loved one go buy gifts beforehand so that they dont feel left out. Things like this will help keep their spirits high and help make the holiday more enjoyable for everyone.