We’re in the final, and potentially the most stressful, stretch of the holiday season. Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are less than 2 weeks away – are you ready to host family and friends and prepare an eloquent holiday dinner? If your senior parent suffers with Alzheimer’s disease, the planning and hosting required by the holiday season can add more stress to an already demanding situation. The festivities of the season can agitate, confuse and over-stimulate those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In order to combat the stresses of the season, the Alzheimer’s Association offers the following survival tips for families living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease:
- Plan ahead to help avoid holiday stress. Individuals who experience stress and anxiety during the holiday season tend to be those who have procrastinated planning for the challenges they will encounter. Consider ahead of time what may be expected of you, and discuss holiday celebrations with relatives and close friends in advance, maintain a regular routine while trying to provide a meaningful and calm holiday event, and celebrate early in the day or host an early – rather than a late – dinner.
- Prepare you senior parent for the family gathering. Preparing your loved one for the upcoming holiday events can allow both of you to enjoy the warmth of the festivities. Help your senior parent by talking about and sharing photos of family members and friends who will be visiting. Have a “quiet” room in case things get too hectic, play familiar music, serve favorite traditional holiday foods, schedule naps and schedule family visit times (to avoid over-stimulation).
- Prepare family and friends. Familiarize family members and friends with behaviors and condition changes caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Plan simple, memory-boosting activities with family members and your senior loved one. Consider taking walks, decorating cookies, telling stories, or making a memory book or family tree. To encourage conversation, place magazines, scrapbooks, or photo albums in reach, and play music to prompt dancing or other kinds of exercise.
- Communicate with success. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can diminish a your parent’s ability to communicate. Therefore, be calm and supportive if your loved one has trouble communicating, speak slowly with a relaxed tone, avoid criticism and arguing, and be patient and flexible.
- Encourage smart gift giving from other family members. Encourage family and friends to give useful, practical gifts for your parent. Gifts may include comfortable easy-to-remove clothing, favorite music, videos and photo albums. See our blog “Top 5 Holiday Gifts for Your Senior Parent” for other gift-giving ideas.
- Provide a safe environment in the home. Your senior parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may become confused, frustrated or may even wander. If you fear that your senior parent may struggle or become stressed, consider these tips to reduce the risk of injury or confusion: Assign a “buddy” to watch out for your parent to ensure their comfort. Arrange ample space for walking side-by-side, for wheelchairs and for walkers. Keep walking areas clear. Limit access to places where injuries occur, such as a kitchen or stairwell. Create an even level of lighting and avoid blinking lights.
- Travel wisely. Never leave your loved one alone, work to keep travelling simple and maintain daily routines, allow you and your senior parent extra time to avoid the stress of rushing, and arrange for services – such as wheelchairs – ahead of time.
- Get support. If you’re struggling to care for your senior parent suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside or Anaheim Hills. Our home health caregivers are trained to provide superior care to your loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. From providing transportation services, planning and preparing nutritious meals, providing medication reminders, coordinating with health care providers, and providing health updates to family members, our caregivers ensure that your parent lives a healthy and happy life.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at /agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected] .