The holidays can be a wonderful and joyous time of the year for many people. Amid decorating, shopping, and visiting friends and family, it can be easy to forget that individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia may have a difficult time coping with the season. We’ve put together some tips that may take some of stress out of the holidays for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- If you’re expecting guests, let them know what to expect before they arrive. The changes that an individual with Alzheimer’s may undergo can be jarring for friends or family members who haven’t seen them in a while. Fill your guests in on your loved one’s changes in behavior, and make sure they are aware of your loved one’s routine. Ask that they be patient and supportive.
- If you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia must travel for the holidays, try to travel during the day, and schedule time for extra rest breaks. Pack an extra change of clothes in case of spills or incontinence. Avoiding busy or unfamiliar places can help reduce confusion or frustration for your loved one.
- Plan activities that your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia may enjoy. Looking at family photos, listening to favorite holiday music, and simple crafts are excellent ways to include your loved one.
- Minimize safety hazards by substituting burning candles with electric candles. Secure your tree to a wall if possible, and tape down electrical cords that may pose a tripping hazard. Keep banisters and railings free from ornaments, garland, etc., which could made it difficult for your loved one to secure a grip. Try to avoid decorations that cause excessive clutter, noise, or light, or any decorations that necessitate rearranging a room.
- Give useful gifts such as comfortable clothing, photo albums, or an identification bracelet. Respite care can also be a great addition to your wish list that will benefit both you and your loved one.
Alzheimer’s or dementia shouldn’t prevent you or your loved one from enjoying the holidays. With a little compromise, patience, and love, you can help minimize stress and create a wonderful experience for everyone.
If we could be of service to you or your family, know that we are here for you.
Happy holidays from Encore Caregivers.