The holiday season can already add stress to daily life, what with planning family get-togethers and rushing to find that one perfect gift. How do you cope when a loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, and you want to make sure everyone has as good a time as possible?
Adjust expectations, advises Ashley Magner, regional care consultant with the Minnesota and North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. “Focus on what is safe, manageable, and meaningful to that person.”
Magner advocates moderation when you’re arranging family events, keeping in mind that the person with dementia may not be able to handle a full day of activities. Among her tips, Magner recommends:
- Limiting visiting groups to two or three people at a time, even at the person’s own home.
- Designating a quiet place where the person can retreat to if needed.
- Celebrating at the care facility if the person can no longer leave it.
- Paying attention to early warning signs of physical or emotional stress.
It’s also important to recognize that your loved one may experience grief and agitation due to the changes in themselves and changes in routine that happen around this time.
Magner doesn’t want caregivers to forget to take care of themselves, either. She urges caregivers to ask for help and give themselves permission to say “No” to requests and invitations.
Get more tips to take care of your loved one and yourself here
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