You might be asking yourself, “How can I help a senior with Alzheimer’s disease enjoy the holidays?” Managing Alzheimer’s disease is difficult on any given day, but add in interruptions to routine, increased visitors, decorations, and noise, and you’ll have a recipe for increased agitation, anxiety, and discomfort. The key to a relaxing holiday for your family members as well as your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease lies in pre-planning, remaining flexible, and altering expectations.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides some helpful suggestions to make sure individuals with dementia, and the people who care for them, are able to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
- Bring loved ones and close friends up to date. For those who haven’t spent time recently together with your senior loved one, it is important to make sure they know what changes they can expect to see. It could be useful to send out an email or letter to each person you will see over the holidays, with precise information such as, “You may observe that Aunt Joanne has changed since your last visit. She may mistake you for another person, and she may exhibit some challenging behaviors, such as aggression or agitation at loud, unexpected noises. Please remember that this is a part of the disease, and in no way deliberate or directed at anyone personally.”
- Check in with the older adult frequently. Observe your loved one’s body language, and make certain to intervene when required. Oftentimes moving to a less noisy room to rest is helpful. Even when your senior loved one appears relaxed and content, it’s a good idea to occasionally ask simply, “How are you doing?” to prevent any possible problems before they arise.
- Keep your loved one engaged. As much as possible, include the senior in the activities other members of the family are having fun with, whether singing holiday songs, opening gifts, reminiscing, or watching holiday classics. Often, long-term memory remains intact even as short-term memory is decreased, and holiday traditions such as these may trigger renewed interest and enjoyment.
- Think through gift ideas very carefully. For a senior with dementia, even the most harmless gift might be dangerous. It is best to adhere to necessities: a warm blanket, a well-liked type of food, comfortable slippers. If loved ones ask for specific gift ideas, the gift of respite care is one that’s always welcome! A professional home care agency, like Inspired Home Care, can provide gift cards for specialized Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care – providing a priceless gift for both the senior along with his or her loved ones.
For additional tips and information pertaining to making the holiday season as enjoyable as you can for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, connect with Inspired Home Care. Our senior care team is highly skilled in the most compassionate, patient, and creative care techniques to help seniors with dementia stay as safe, independent, and engaged as possible. Call us now at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our top-rated Oak Park home care services.