Share The Joy During the Holidays
Tips to Help Caregiver’s and Those Living With Alzheimer’s Disease
The hustle and bustle of the holidays comes to every household. When you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s it’s not all “joy”. The shift in routine, decorations, and influx of visitors can put a damper on everyone’s holiday spirit. How to welcome holiday guests who do not understand the situation is often a dilemma for caregivers. “Concerns will arise from those who are surprised of the progression of the disease, and some visitors will not understand why Grandpa has changed,” said Jo Gosselin, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Network.
Consider sending out a note to anyone planning on dropping by. Lay out simple guidelines and explain the progression of disease and how it will affect the visit. “For a smooth visit, avoid loud noises, long stays and drawn out questions that only cause more confusion. Don’t hesitate to schedule morning and afternoon visits, things may go smoother when starting out rested,” Gosselin said. Being prepared will help everyone feel like the visit was a success and there will be fewer surprises.
Focus on the “can do” and not the “we used to,” said Gosselin. Don’t concentrate on what holiday traditions you can’t enjoy together, instead make new ones or scale down the old ones. Make treats together in the kitchen. Measuring, mixing and a little soft music can be quality time together.
The holiday’s can be rather animated, dancing Santa’s, blinking lights and talking reindeer don’t bring a calm environment and can be confusing for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. Keeping decorations simple and not making a lot of changes can help with confusion.
Rest and Relaxation make for a real nice holiday. Make sure everyone including the caregiver is getting enough rest. “Less is more, having a blessed time is more important that rushing through twelve events and feeling harried and frazzled in the end,” said Gosselin. Don’t ignore family members who have offered to help. Take time to enjoy the festivities with friends or other family members. The holiday may have changed, but embrace the warmth of the season and take what works for you, and resist pressure from those events that overwhelm you.
Questions about Alzheimer’s? Need Support Group Information?
Call the Alzheimer Network at (503) 364-8100 or 1-866-425-9638 or visit us at www.alznet.org