Thanksgiving is over and December is upon us. We prepare for the Christmas holidays, and treasure the moments spent with family and friends. The individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease happy memories are no more. Their memories, days and nights all riddle into one, and they may not even be aware it is Christmas. The albums of their memories are now blurred and familiar faces create confusion. Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s has an effect on everyone in the family on Christmas.
The holiday season can create tension even for the healthy and whole. A person with Alzheimer’s can become overwhelmed with all the festivities and even change in weather. The thing to keep in mind for a loved with Alzheimer’s simplicity is the order of the day. Simplicity in decorations, not flashing or singing is more soothing for a person with Alzheimer’s and lets them put all their energies and faculties into enjoying the people around them. In addition, make sure the decorations do not cause a risk to an already frail and perhaps unpredictable person with Alzheimer’s.
One thing that helps with enjoying Christmas traditions, your loved one with Alzheimer’s may not remember, is being flexible. Just because it worked last year doesn’t mean it will work this year. In addition, and traditions that will confuse the individual with Alzheimer’s is a tradition that needs to be abandoned. There may have been a time when a big family get-together of two or three generations during the holiday season was wonderful. This could create more confusion or even agitation for a person with Alzheimer’s It might be more enjoyable for the person with Alzheimer’s disease to have a few gatherings with just a couple of people at a time, and with plenty of time in between them to recuperate.
To help alleviate the person with Alzheimer’s from being over whelmed with the Christmas holiday is to have Christmas dinner at an hour that isn’t too late in the day. If need be do lunch or an early bird dinner for Christmas dinner. In addition if you know that sitting through a dinner too difficult for them, then consider some Christmas cookies and eggnog, or whatever holiday treats will be kindest to heir delicate digestive system. The severity of the dementia will have a lot to do with what will work well and what won’t.
In the early stages, when the sufferer is still able to make many decisions and be fairly active, make room for them to be able to call some of the shots and express their preferences. Find out what kind of gathering do they want. Find out when they would like to eat. Were there any favorite Christmas movies or music from past years your loved one with Alzheimer’s enjoyed? They may have trouble remembering anything that’s recently, but their enjoyment of things from their own earlier years may be intense and assist with getting them this time of year. It is important to be especially sensitive to what their needs and limitations are at Christmas time.
If someone you know is busy tending to someone with Alzheimer’s disease, chances are they’re not taking care of themselves too well. Having a meal prepared for them for a change would be an appreciated originality. Being presented with a gift of Christmas cookies, homemade or otherwise, would be the icing on the cake. In addition, spend time with them as they are caring for their frail loved one; make it more of a social event where someone else is there to do a little tidying, a little visiting. You can carry on a conversation with the person with Alzheimer’s, allowing the caregiver to sit back and relax and enjoy this holiday season a little more. If you do some cleaning, or take care of some errands, for either the caregiver or the person with Alzheimer’s, the result will be the same of gratitude and a break for the caregiver. It may be the best Christmas gift they receive.
Find out more information on how to make the holidays more pleasant for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s by visiting http://www.alz.org