Managing Alzheimer’s agitation is daunting on any given day, but add in disruptions to routine, extra visitors, decorations, and noise, and you may just have a recipe for increased anxiety and discomfort. The key to a pleasant holiday for both your family and your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s lies in pre-planning, remaining flexible, and altering expectations.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a number of helpful tips to make sure those with dementia, and those who take care of them, have the ability to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
- Bring loved ones and close friends up to date. For those who haven’t spent time recently with your loved one, it’s worthwhile to ensure they understand what changes they might expect to see. It may be beneficial to send out an email or letter to each person you’ll see during the holidays, with specific information such as, “You may see that Aunt Marge has changed since your last visit. She may confuse you with another person, and she may display some challenging behaviors, such as aggression or agitation at loud, unexpected noises. Please know that this is a component of the disease, and in no way intentional or directed at you.”
- Check in with the older adult regularly. Pay attention to your loved one’s body language, and make certain to step in when required. Sometimes moving to a less noisy room to rest is helpful. Even when your senior loved one seems relaxed and content, it’s best to sporadically ask simply, “How are you doing?” to circumvent any potential problems before they arise.
- Keep the senior engaged. As much as possible, include the senior in the activities other members of the family are taking pleasure in, whether singing holiday songs, opening gifts, reminiscing, or watching holiday classics. Often, long-term memory remains intact even if short-term memory is decreased, and holiday traditions such as these may ignite renewed interest and engagement.
- Think through gift suggestions carefully. For an individual with dementia, even the most harmless gift might be dangerous. It’s best to adhere to necessities: a warm blanket, a well-liked type of food, comfortable slippers. If members of your family ask for specific gift suggestions, the gift of respite care is one that is always welcome! A professional home care agency, like Morning Glory Home Care, can offer gift cards for specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care – providing a priceless gift for the senior and his or her loved ones.
For further tips and resources related to making the holiday season as pleasant as possible for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, connect with Morning Glory Home Care. Our care team is highly skilled in the most compassionate, patient, and creative care techniques to help seniors stay as safe, independent, and engaged as possible. Reach out to us now at 618-667-8400 for additional information on our top-rated care at home in Chester.