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Enjoying Holidays: Tips for Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Keep celebrating the holidays, even as your loved one’s situation changes

The holiday season is often a time for family parties, shared meals, and gift giving. As we get older, we all look back on favorite holiday memories, remembering special outings, events, and presents. If you have a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, celebrating these memories may seem bittersweet. Holidays can become filled with stress, frustration, and sometimes sadness. Understanding that holidays may be different now and preparing you and your loved one accordingly can help keep joy during the holidays.

Try these 3 tips to celebrating the holidays with loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia:

  1. Find balance
    Many family members feel overwhelmed by caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and this can be exacerbated during the busy holiday season. Finding a balance between caring for others and caring for yourself is key. Consider simplifying your holiday celebrations to cut back on planning, shopping, or cooking tasks that can become time-consuming.

    While you want to spend quality time with your loved one during the holiday, don’t feel like you have to miss out on other traditions. If you receive invitations to celebrations your loved one with Alzheimer’s cannot attend, go without them. Knowing you have a support system of family, friends, or professionals to keep your loved one company will help you enjoy other activities and free time. [Holiday Hints for Alzheimer’s Caregivers]
  2. Prepare Loved One With Alzheimer’s
    Sometimes extra help may be needed to provide adequate Alzheimer’s care. If your loved one is in a memory care facility and unable to go to holiday events, bring the party to them. Visiting in smaller groups for shorter periods of time may be beneficial to loved ones with dementia who become overwhelmed.

    Sticking to your loved one’s schedule during holiday festivities is essential. Making sure they get enough rest, drink plenty of water, and take medications on time will impact their comfort and mood. Having a quiet place for them to rest away from loud, crowded events can help ease their discomfort.
  3. Involve the Whole Family
    Family members and friends who have not seen your loved one in a while may be surprised by their change in behavior or abilities. When planning holiday activities, make it clear to these guests that the situation has changed. Instead of elaborate gifts or complex games, try making favorite foods and listening to music. Guests can take turns visiting with their loved one in a comfortable, non-threatening environment.

    Being patient and flexible can go a long way when celebrating the holidays with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you remain positive and take each day as it comes, you and your loved one will have a more enjoyable time. [Tips to Enjoying the Holidays]

The holiday season should be a time for family, friends, and celebration. While your loved one may not be able to recall all of your favorite memories with them, they can still enjoy the atmosphere and companionship that comes with the holidays. Taking the extra time and effort to consider their wants, needs, and abilities when planning holiday events can help ensure comfort and joy for all.

If you and your family see that a loved one with Alzheimer’s could use some extra assistance, consider ComfortCare Homes in Wichita, KS. Our residential memory care facilities provide the loving, personal care needed by seniors with dementia. We are happy to help you start the conversation about memory care with family members or your senior loved one. Please visit our website to learn more.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.

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