While the Holiday season is a time for celebration, joy, and time together, it can also be a time of added stress for all of us. As we prepare for all that the season has to offer, those caring for persons living with Alzheimer’s (whether in the home or in a care setting) often have an additional worry of how to maintain traditions and connectedness while managing the many changes that come with an individual’s journey through the disease.
Here are a few simple tips to assist in making the holidays bright!
Be Prepared: Setting expectations and being prepared can help settle stress for both the person, their caregivers and family members.
- Schedule visits during the best time of day for your loved one. For example, if they experience issues with sundowning, be sure to plan your visit earlier in the day.
- Prepare family members and visitors for any changes. Many family members/friends who visit during the holidays may not be aware of changes in their loved one. Prepare everyone for what to expect as it relates to any cognitive, verbal, or physical changes they may not be aware of.
- Be prepared to manage expectations and adjust to the needs of the individual throughout the visit: *Friendly Reminder – things may not always go as planned.
Maintain Traditions: Maintaining traditions is a wonderful way to invoke positive memories for all! While modifications may need to be made, sharing holiday traditions creates wonderful connections
- Traditional Holiday/Religious music, ceremony, events, rituals remain important to connectedness
- Keep gatherings simple and small to avoid overstimulation
- Bring modified versions to those unable to attend
- Involve your loved one in making traditional foods: Christmas cookies, latkes, “first fruits.” Allow them to assist in meal preparation or bring favorite holiday foods to celebrate in the community setting
- Use traditional holiday symbols and décor to evoke memories and spark conversation and/or sensory stimulation
Remember to take care of yourself, manage your own expectations and know that all the time spent with your loved ones is a memory worth making!
We at Marquis wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season!