The holiday season is steadfastly approaching, with stores already full of lights and decorations. Preparing for family gatherings is hectic for all, but this time of year can be especially stressful for those with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Help prepare your loved one to make this season flow more smoothly with these useful tips:
• Show him/her pictures of people who will be visiting and talk about them.
• Play some of his/her favorite holiday tunes and serve favorite holiday foods.
• Get your loved one involved in preparations -- ask him/her to help you decorate, set the table, etc.
• Consider creating name tags for your guests -- people with Alzheimer's may recognize faces but be unable to recall names, so this can be a helpful cue.
• Designate a room the "quiet area" where your loved one can retreat if things get too overwhelming. Ask a familiar person to stay with him/her to prevent feelings of abandonment.
• Have distractions prepared in case problematic behaviors occur (e.g. have him/her fold some napkins, count name tags, etc.)
If you are a family caregiver, remember to take care of yourself as well!
• Plan ahead and set limits as to what you are able to do.
• Don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and family.
• Take breaks regularly (look into in-home care if needed) -- preparing for the holidays and caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia can be overwhelming.
• Consider joining a caregiver support group for tips and insight
• Buy yourself a holiday gift as a reward for your dedication!
Many times, the holidays are when the adult son or daughter notice that their mom, dad, or other loved one needs additional assistance to remain safely in their home. If you live far away and are worried that your loved one cannot manage on their own, contact a reputable home care agency such as Home Care Assistance. Schedule an in-home assessment with a care Manager, your loved one and any family members that would like to be involved in the process and determine the level of care you parent needs. Hiring a caregiver to come in on an hourly or live-in basis will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your loved is in good hands.
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