The holiday season is upon us – bringing the fun and excitement of so many family traditions – including shopping, holiday decorating, entertaining and exchanging gifts.  But, as families attempt to keep up with all of the usual traditions while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, stress is inevitable.  With careful consideration and planning, caregiver stress during the holidays CAN be successfully managed, while also ensuring the holidays are as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for the person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are some tips to manage holiday stress when your loved one has Alzheimer’s:

  • Before the holiday season approaches have a conversation with family and friends about your loved one’s condition.  Be realistic as to what both you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease are able to do.  It may be different than what you have done in the past – so acknowledge that it’s OK to break tradition and form new ones. You may need to say “no” to keep things manageable.
  • Observing all traditions may be too difficult.  For example, large family events may be overwhelming   – leading to confusion  – so you may want to keep gatherings small and spread them out over several days.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, ask for support. Don’t be afraid to suggest that family members share caregiver responsibilities during this time.
  • Schedule events earlier in the day to address sundowning.
  • Change in environment and routine can be confusing and cause disorientation so avoid  busy restaurants and unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Attend religious services at times when they may be less crowded or invite clergy to a service at your home.
  • Be aware that some holiday decorations could cause tripping or other safety hazards.
  • Take time for yourself – keeping healthy is important to manage the physical and emotional demands of caregiving.  Make sure you eat well and get enough sleep.

Focusing on these strategies can help make the holidays less stressful for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.  If you find that you need support and/or guidance, please don’t hesitate to call our Helpline at 888-280-6055. We are always here for you, New Jersey.

Join us for a free one-hour education program on “Celebrating the Holidays When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s” on December 6, 2016 from 6:30-7:30 PM at Sunrise Senior Living, 184 Berdan Ave, Wayne, NJ 07470. Call us at 888-280-6055 to register.

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