The holiday season is upon us! A time for gathering with family and friends, sharing meals, exchanging gifts, or some downtime from the hustle and bustle of life.

The Holidays and Alzheimer’s

This is the time of year children often come home to spend time with their families. They have been conversing with their parents and everything seems like it is going well. After a short time living with them often they see changes they did not notice or may have worsened since their last visit. Parents have a wonderful way of caring for each other or themselves that make it appear they are managing fine.

Often it takes a catastrophic event such as a fall, wandering or hospitalization before we realize our parents need more help to remain at home. The Alzheimer Association lists the ten warning signs of Alzheimer Disease.

For families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the holidays can be challenging. With some planning and adjusted expectations, your celebrations can still be happy, memorable occasions. The Alzheimer’s Association provides excellent suggestions for the holiday season.

Familiarize others with the situation. Let others know in advance of any significant changes in your loved one. Make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person.

Adjust expectations. Set limits to holiday plans to minimize stress. Some holiday traditions may need to be modified to accommodate caregiving responsibilities.

Involve the person with dementia. When possible, involve your loved one in holiday preparations – simple baking, gift wrapping, etc. Reminiscing on cherished memories can be enjoyable for everyone.

Adapt gift giving. Communicate to others about useful and safe gifts for your loved one.

When the person lives in a care facility. Join your loved one in facility-sponsored holiday activities. Bring special holiday food or decorate their living area.

And caregivers, don’t forget to take care of yourselves during the holidays! Find a way to have some down time or time with friends. Arrange for respite care so you can enjoy a movie or lunch with a friend.

To read the full article regarding holidays and Alzheimer’s, click here.

Our specialized memory and dementia care team is available to answer questions and provide a free evaluation for you and your loved one.