Alzheimer’s care faces unique challenges during the holiday season, which makes simple tips and pragmatic solutions prudent. Enlist help and strive for comfort during the holidays.
Spending the holidays with someone that has Alzheimer’s disease does present some challenges, but can also be the perfect time to make a connection with them, too. Create a comfortable and low-stress environment for your senior, and reach out to Senior Living Experts for support in managing your loved one’s progressing disease.
Try these suggestions to make this season a bit easier and less-chaotic for everyone:
Take the opportunity to assess your senior’s progress
It can be tough to know what to give someone that is suffering from Alzheimer’s, so give gifts that are in line with how far their dementia has progressed. For example, give books or fruit baskets for early-stage Alzheimer’s patients, or gift warm slippers and lap throws for late-stage patients. Watch how your senior reacts and responds to the familiar events and traditions of the holiday. This informal assessment could shed light on where your loved one is in the Alzheimer’s spectrum.
Make things familiar for your senior
When you are celebrating the holiday with someone that has Alzheimer’s, strive to keep things familiar and low-key. Don’t make this the time to rearrange furniture or start new holiday traditions. Try to keep things simple, and use mementos, decorations, and displays that your senior may recognize from holidays past.
Don’t get hung-up on tradition
Speaking of traditions, don’t worry about honoring all of the long-held family traditions that you typically observe during the holidays. Instead, choose one or two that your loved one has previously participated in, and integrate these. Don’t try to do everything that you remember in an effort to strike a chord with your senior; make things easy on yourself and focus on one or two. Consider spending a little time looking at old photos with your loved one, or simply allocating some time to put chores aside and just spend time together.
Keep things simple and stress-free
Perhaps most importantly, plan simple festivities and don’t overwhelm the senior with large crowds or chaotic situations. Don’t try to pack too much into the holiday, and make it a point to allow ample time to rest and recuperate for your senior. Enjoy laid-back pleasures, like a cup of tea with a neighbor or carols by the fireplace with family. Try to get your shopping done ahead or online, as the traffic and stores could prove difficult for seniors exhibiting dementia.
Examine your own expectations
Check in frequently with the senior and don’t let your own expectations disappoint or frustrate you. Holidays can be stressful, and individuals living with Alzheimer’s may actually show some decline in function, cognition, and memory when feeling anxious, nervous, or unsure. Celebrate the small victories and try to live in the present; even if it doesn’t seem to help your aging loved one, it can help your own morale and overall well-being.
Take others up on offers of assistance
When a trusted friend or family member makes an offer of assistance or support, take them up on it. The interaction and engagement could be good for your loved one, and it also provides respite for caregivers. When people ask what they can do, tell them; a cooked meal, an hour break, or a grocery run can be a great help when you are trying to provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s during the busy holiday season.
Alzheimer’s care faces unique challenges during the holiday season
The holidays can be a confusing and scary time for many suffering from Alzheimer’s disease; the unfamiliar faces, hectic schedule, and loud parties can make some feel anxious which can exacerbate existing symptoms, such as memory loss and aphasia. Don’t let the hurdles deter you, however, from spending quality time with your loved one during the coming holidays but use common-sense strategies to minimize stress.
Reach out for support and resources as needed
It takes a team to treat Alzheimer’s, including family, caregivers, providers, and practitioners. Make sure that the person you love has a qualified and united treatment team that are all working toward the same goals. Consult with online resources to find specialists and Alzheimer’s support as needed, for your loved one and their caregivers.
Make this Christmas a special and meaningful season for you and your senior living with Alzheimer’s disease. Keep these tips in mind to plan a simple and safe holiday, while engaging and involving your loved one. Reach out to Senior Living Experts; for assistance with lining up caregivers, providers, and services that could improve the overall quality of life for someone struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.