Holidays are a busy time of year for most people, but If you have a loved one in the family with Alzheimer’s disease, the holidays can present themselves with additional challenges.
Many people feel a deep sense of loss about holidays of the past. AD caregivers may feel too worn out to plan for a holiday celebration. A time of year that normally brings happiness and family closeness may turn into a stressful period that engenders more guilt and dread than festive enthusiasm for many caregivers and family members.
If you are looking for ways to make this Easter holiday go smoothly, here are some tips for a simple and safe holiday:
1.Plan a simple meal at home.
2.Involve your loved one with AD to participate to the degree that s/he is capable
2.Minimize decorations such as blinking lights (may disorient a person with AD dementia).
3.Avoid the use of candles to minimize fire hazards.
4.Delegate cleaning and other tasks to others, don’t attempt to do it all yourself.
5. Stay in the present moment, avoid worrying about what will happen in the future.
6.Engage in activities your loved one enjoys such as looking at old family photos.
7.Create new, simpler family traditions.
8.Plan a pot luck or have the holiday meal catered instead of attempting to make an entire meal.
9.Avoid agitation in the person with AD by keeping the gatherings, small and the noise level low.
10. Maintain the normal daily routine as much as possible.
If your loved one with AD is in a structured living facility during the holidays, it may present even more of a challenge when planning for the holidays. Here are some tips from Mayo Clinic on a safe and enjoyable Easter holiday for those with AD who no longer live at home:
1.Consider a small family get together at the facility.
2. Avoid disruption in the person with AD’s normal routine as much as possible.
2.Plan to participate in any holiday activities the facility has scheduled for residents.
3.Minimize the number of visitors coming and going in one day, large groups may be overwhelming.
4.Plan the visit earlier in the day or at a time when your loved one with AD is the most active.
5.If family members are coming from out of town, prepare them so they know what to expect.
6.Decide which holiday traditions are most important, focus on the ones your loved one enjoys most.
7.Lower your expectations, keep in mind you can’t do it all.
Where ever you plan to celebrate the Easter holiday this year, keep in mind that providing a safe and enjoyable day for your loved one with AD is the primary goal. Don’t give in to the pressure of other family members or friends when it comes to what is best for the person with AD.
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