Caregiving for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s/dementia can leave caregivers feeling that they will not be able to enjoy holiday gatherings. Instead of experiencing the joy and goodwill of a special occasion, many caregivers experience more stress and anxiety during these times.
The bottom line is that all family members and friends need to accept and adapt to the current situation and that can happen in a few different ways.
1.) Have someone other than the caregiver host the party.
It is bestif someone other than the caregiver hosts the holiday festivities. Being the primary caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer’s/dementia can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Family members or close friends offering to host the holiday gathering is a supportive/helpful gesture.
If hosting the holiday at the caregiver’s home is the only option, be sure that everyone brings a dish and helps with the preparations and clean up.
2.) Be sensitive and environment–aware.
Everyone has to remember that our loved ones with cognitive impairment are not always able to adapt to changes and a difference in routine.
Too much noise/conversation can be over-stimulating. To avoid the anxiety, the loved one may need a quiet place to be with a few family members at a time.
When conversing, speak in a calm tone, and don’t correct or press your loved one to remember events or names.
For their safety, block access to stairwells and cooking areas.
3.) Take note of your loved one’s demeanor.
Know how long your loved one can be away from their “Safe Place” without causing anxious behaviors and fatigue.
During group gatherings, have everyone wear name tags and consider having the dinner prior to sundown – a time frame which prompts “late-day confusion” for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
In general, the support of family members and friends can make a big difference for caregivers and their loved one during holidays and special gatherings. Creating an environment of compassion and understanding in which everyone pitches in to help will help reduce caregiver stress and allow them to make time for themselves to relax and enjoy family – a gift they will certainly appreciate and cherish.
For information about our community and resources to help you and your family through the Alzheimer’s journey, call us here at Memory Care of Simpsonville (864) 962-3038.
By Linda Carrasco, Director of Operations, Memory Care America
Linda Carrasco is the Director of Operations for Memory Care America with over 20 years of experience in health care administration, social work and admissions with a focus on geriatric care, palliative/hospice, management and leadership.