Holiday season is now here and if you are wondering how to make the holidays easier and less stressful here are some holiday tips for caregivers.
- Choose what holiday events to participate in, don’t feel obligated to attend everything. You are in charge of when to say yes.
- Avoid crowded and noisy places and watch sugar intake. Maintain usual routines as much as possible.
- Involve your loved one in holiday preparations when possible. To increase your success at this, break the tasks down, and sometimes hand over hand help is necessary to accomplish a project. The goal is not to achieve perfection but memories with the close time you will have with your loved one.
- If you have out of town guests coming, prepare them in advance. Let visiting family and guests know that their loved one may not remember their name and prepare them for known behavioral issues. This way you and your guests can be more relaxed if they are told what they might expect.
- Reminisce together about past holidays and happy times. One idea is to look through a photo album together. People with dementia can sometimes think of events from long ago but they may need help with names and specifics in the picture. To avoid embarrassment avoid direct questions, say “look, there is your sister Mary Ellen in her cute red and green dress. Oh, and there is our dog Spot, she looks so alert.” This can lead to more memories, relaxation, trust and bonding time.
- Think of meaningful family traditions such as certain food, singing carols or decorations that will trigger good feelings. Remember your loved one may not remember what you just did but they will remember that they had a good time with you.
- Trust yourself, if you think your loved one can’t handle an event or group of visitors, reschedule or decline.
- Pace yourself and have Happy Holidays!
Jane Rogers RN