Caregiver Gastonia NC
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging. During the holiday season they might encounter additional challenges and limitations that make this experience even more difficult. With careful planning and effort, however, you can ensure that your senior is still able to be a memorable and meaningful part of your holiday celebrations. This is not only important to you as you create memories that you will cherish for years to come, but it can also give your aging parent a mental and emotional boost and help to minimize the risk of negative behaviors and consequences.
Use these tips to involve an elderly adult with Alzheimer’s disease in your holiday celebrations:
• Do not try to do it all. In the past you might have planned a season full of events and activities, and filled your home with family members and friends. This year, however, your aging parent’s needs and your care for them must take top priority. Cut down your obligations to just what is most important to you so that you are able to still enjoy the season but are there for your parent as well. Remember that seniors with Alzheimer’s disease get overwhelmed and tire easily and if you schedule too much for them they might experience anxiety, confusion, fear, and negative behaviors.
• Talk to everyone in advance. Even though you may have become accustomed to the changes that have come over your aging parent since last Christmas, these changes might be significant for others. Especially if there are family members who have not seen your parent since they have progressed in their disease, the differences in them might be startling and even upsetting for them. Ensure that everyone is as comfortable as possible and prepared for the family events by talking to everyone in advance. Tell those who will be visiting or whose homes you have been invited to what kinds of changes your loved one has experienced and how they have impacted them. Reassure family members that they should continue to treat your parent as they would anyone else and that they should take the time to do little things such as give them a hug or have a brief conversation with them.
• Enjoy the little things. An elderly adult who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may still understand the holiday season and what it means, and likely just wants to be involved. While they might not be able to do all of the things that they used to to celebrate the holidays, you can make sure that they are able to participate in meaningful ways. Have them sit with you in the kitchen and talk while preparing dinner, let them roll out cookie dough and cut out cookies, have them help you wrap gifts by positioning tape or choosing tags and bows. Even these small contributions can make a tremendous difference in your celebration and enjoyment of the holiday season together.