Alzheimer’s Disease Can Lead To Challenging Holidays

Holidays bring us together, but when a family is living with Alzheimer’s disease, these holidays bring certain challenges.

We can still experience happy, memorable occasions, with careful planning and adjusted expectations

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Familiarize Others With The Situation

Make a point of taking the time to familiarize other family members and friends with the changes that have been occurring in the behaviors of the loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.  If visitors are forewarned, everyone will be more comfortable as the activities of the holiday unfold.

Adjust Expectations

It is of the utmost importance that the caregivers adjust their own expectations about what they can or cannot do in planning and celebrating the holiday.  Other family members and friends can take the opportunity to offer help in the preparation of the holiday festivities, as well as contributing to the care of the loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, while planning and preparing are in progress.  Depending on what stage of the disease a loved one is currently in, time of day, number of guests, and/or place of gathering should be considered.

Involve Your Loved One

Remember to involve the person with dementia in as much of the planning and decision-making as possible.   Traditions and memories are invaluable in the treatment of a person living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Finding comfort in holiday meaning is as important to your loved one as it is to EVERYONE.

Adapt Gift-Giving

When exchanging gifts, keep in mind the needs and interest levels of the person living with dementia.  Caregivers: DO NOT FORGET: put respite care on your list of holiday wishes.  This time of year, when we are grateful and thinking of ways to give, helping a caregiver by easing their load of responsibilities could be the BEST gift ever.

Adapt If Your Loved One Is Living In A Facility

If your loved one is already living in a care facility, the best choice might be to go to the facility to celebrate the holiday.  Your loved one could be at the stage where he/she is more secure in the setting where they are living.  Bringing family and friends to the care community will also be a gift to ALL of the residents and staff.

In conclusion, holidays can be hectic, but they are also wonderful times to bring family and friends together.  Even though you are now living with Alzheimer’s disease as a part of your life, finding a comfortable, safe and meaningful way to celebrate is a gift to everyone.