Managing Alzheimer’s During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time for friends and family to gather and create memories as well as reminisce about past holidays and gatherings. Unfortunately for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease, this can also be a time of stress, frustration, and deep feelings of loss. According to Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people aged 65 and older (11.3%) has Alzheimer’s dementia. A person living with Alzheimer’s may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes he or she has experienced. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed maintaining traditions while providing care. The following tips will help the holiday season flow more smoothly for everyone involved.

Adjust Expectations

There is no guarantee how the visits will play out. Some will feel like previous visits before the diagnosis, while others might involve agitation or withdrawal due to confusion. Let all visitors know ahead of time the known difficulties and how they might need to be handled.

Involve the Person Living with Alzheimer’s

There is always something that your loved one with Alzheimer’s can participate in. If they are in the beginning stages, have them set the table or decorate the entryway. Those in the middle stages might appreciate being the kitchen overseer and enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the family cook. Late-stage loved ones can sit in a comfortable chair near the entry in a festive outfit and wave at everyone who arrives.

Involve The Person Caring For The Family Member with Alzheimer’s

Particularly if the caregiver is a family member, make sure to involve caregivers in the planning and preparation. They know the abilities of the family member with Alzheimer’s the best and can help the day go smoothly. It is also a good opportunity to remind the caregiver how it feels to handle something outside the day-to-day care of a loved one.

Adapt Gift-Giving

People with Alzheimer’s need simple, thoughtful gifts such as a new lap blanket, no-skid socks, access to their favorite music, or photo albums with clearly labeled pictures of each family member. Avoid challenging board games, complicated electronic equipment, or pets as they no longer have the mental capacity to understand, enjoy, and treat these items well.

Be Flexible

There will always be a tense moment, but with some pre-planning and the ability to be flexible, it will be just that – a single moment.

It doesn’t matter if your loved one is in the beginning, middle, or late stages of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Griswold Home Care Orlando is available to help. Whether it’s adjusting already scheduled hours of care to better accommodate family gatherings or adding care to handle all the needs of the holiday, Griswold Home Care is ready to help you and your loved ones have the best holiday possible. For more information on their homemaking, personal, or respite care options this holiday season, please contact them today.