The holidays can be a stressful time for family caregivers, especially when taking care of a loved one with dementia. The best approach for everyone involved is to Keep It Simple.
Your loved one with dementia needs and wants a consistent routine. This means travelling can be a challenge if not a nightmare at times. A much better approach is to have another family member or a professional caregiver come in and stay with your loved one while you do the travelling. It might seem somewhat expensive if you’re paying a personal care agency to provide caregivers around-the-clock for a few days, but it usually turns out best for you and your loved one. You get to enjoy your family and friends and they get to stay home where they are comfortable with their surroundings and their routine.
You may also need to simplify your traditions. Instead of throwing a big party and/or doing lots of shopping for family and friends. Take a new look at what is best for you and your loved one. Less stress is always best and you can find other ways to celebrate the season while still telling others you care. Attending holiday events are much more enjoyable for you than for your loved one with dementia. They can get overwhelmed and over-stimulated very quickly. So keep your visits short or, better yet, have someone care your loved one for a few hours while you go and get the break you need.
If you need to spend a few hours out during the day—and what family caregiver doesn’t need a regular break—find an adult day center near you and give them a try. You may find that your loved one enjoys the activities as you enjoy some time to yourself. Family caregivers do better and avoid burnout when they reach out and find solutions that work for them and their loved one with dementia.
You deserve to enjoy the holidays stress-free and guilt-free. You can do this by simplifying things and making sure your loved one with dementia is kept safe and comfortable.