The holiday season is often tough on persons with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Routines are broken, visiting relatives can feel like an invasion of strangers, and the seasonal changes that stimulate other family members can be nearly impossible to cope with.
The holiday season can also install a sense of loss difficult to overcome. Not to mention that it puts more pressure on the caregivers than other parts of the year.
It is still possible to have a happy holiday, and the secret lies in planning. If family and friends are coming to the home of the person with dementia, let them know what to expect. In the early stages family might not notice many changes, but visitors can still help through being patient. Let them know not to interrupt or correct the person with dementia, and tell them it’s important to give ample time to finish his or her thoughts.
Later Stages of Dementia
In later stages, the changes can be difficult to accept, especially for visitors from afar who haven’t met their loved one for some time. Make sure everyone understands that the changes are caused by the disease and that it isn’t personal. It can also be a good idea to break up a large group into smaller visits with just a couple of people at a time.
Build on the memories that remain, and lean on past traditions. Maybe your family can sing old holiday songs and look through photo albums that help bring memories to the surface.
Everyone likes to feel useful, and if the person is able to, ask for help with food preparation, gift-wrapping, and decorating. It doesn’t have to be a complex task – just measuring ingredients or passing decorations can give a sense of being needed.
Scheduling for the Holidays
Another idea that can help is making a schedule for the holiday where normal routines for eating, napping, and similar are interrupted as little as possible. Share it with guests ahead of time, so everyone understands why it is important that their loved one keeps their mealtime. Be honest, and ask for help if you need it.
If you are looking for long distance medical transportation for a person with dementia, please feel free to call us. With over 30 years of experience in the medical transportation industry, you can trust that we have your needs in mind. Our friendly transport coordinators are standing by to answer any concerns or questions you may have, give us a call today at (800) 311-3412.