Most of us look forward to the holiday season with eager anticipation and remember past celebrations with fondness and happy memories.
However, high expectations we have for the upcoming holidays can set the scene for some stressful moments and big disappointments, especially if we are caring for a loved one with dementia.
Last week in our blog we talked about informing guests about changes in their loved one‘s behavior before they arrive. In this article we want to talk about adjusting our expectations so we can still enjoy the holiday season but be realistic about what we can and can’t do. These suggestions are from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Invite family members to a planning meeting
The responsibility of keeping up family traditions can be stressful enough but combining it with already overwhelming caregiving duties can create tremendous stress.
- Ask family and friends to a face-to-face meeting to talk about plans for the holidays, or
- Set up a telephone conference call if family live out of towm
- Make sure you explain your caregiving situation.
- This doesn’t necessarily mean people will understand but even if they don’t, that is their problem and not yours.
- Have realistic expectations about what you can do.
- Be honest about any limitations or needs, such as the importance of keeping a daily routine for your loved one.
Be good to yourself
- Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. You may have invited 15 to 20 people over in the past, but think about having only a few people come at a time.
- Smaller visits of two or three people at a time will help keep the person with Alzheimer’s and yourself from getting overtired.
- Have everyone coming bring something so that you don’t have to cook.
- Ask them to host Christmas festivities at their homes if they don’t offer.
- If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, consider changing a holiday dinner into a holiday lunch or brunch.
- If you do keep the celebration at night, keep the room well-lit and try to avoid any known triggers.
- Remember it’s alright not do the things you have “always” done in the past.
- It is alright to decline invitations if you and your loved one don’t feel up to them.
With some planning and preparing, you and your loved one can create enjoyable moments this holiday season. To connect with other caregivers and get ideas on caregiving during the holidays ideas visit Alz-Connected.
At Aspen Senior Care we have caregivers trained in dementia care. Our sister company, the Aspen Senior Center of Provo has a specially designed program for seniors with memory loss. We provide fun, engaging activities, music and lunch, plus peace of mind for families caring for loved ones with memory loss. Please visit the center or call us at (801) 607-2300 for more information. Visit our Aspen Senior Center Facebook page to see some of the fun activities they do!