The holidays can be a time of both joy and stress for any family. But, when you add in a loved one with dementia, those experiences can intensify. It’s not easy during the holidays, but whether your loved one is at home, or lives in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, there are ways to make the most of the holidays.
4 Tips to Make the Holidays Easier for a Loved One with Dementia
1. Be forgiving, of yourself, your family and your loved one. No one is perfect. Things may have been said or done by your loved one or other family members over the years, or since the symptoms of dementia have appeared, that caused stress, but your ability to move past that and set it aside will make for a happier holiday for everyone.
2. Be inclusive. Help your loved one feel like they are involved no matter where they are in the disease process by asking for their help with easy activities, encouraging them to reminisce and including them in conversations. A loss of independence can be both scary and stressful. Not being able to care for one’s self, remember important details or even drive can cause a lot of strife. If you have a loved one in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease who is still determined to drive, read these tips about when it's time to stop driving.
3. Offer your loved one your best self. It’s not always easy, but remember that making the most of the time you have with your loved one will mean the world to them now, and to you after they are gone. During the holidays, isolation can have a profound effect on a resident’s physical and mental health. Decreased mobility, coupled with busy or occupied friends and family around the holidays can leave many residents feeling lonely or depressed. Give them your undivided attention, avoid correcting them and be present.
4. Select holiday gifts with care. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that you first consider what stage of the disease your loved one is in when shopping for a gift for them. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a gift may not be very different from what you’d give your loved one before their diagnosis. In later stages of the disease, however, sensory stimulating gifts become more important, because the stimulus could bring back some of your loved one’s memories. Read some suggestions here!
The holidays are busy, but make sure you loved one is getting good care if in a nursing home.
Maintaining the health and well-being of residents should be a top priority in any quality nursing home, even during the busy holiday months. But in the event that a nursing home facility is failing to meet the resident’s needs in a way that negatively affects their quality of life, consider speaking to the administration about your concerns. If they fail to help or make needed changes, then you may wish to consult with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney like Hupy and Abraham.
We hope that you and your loved one have a warm and joy-filled holiday. Should you have any questions, or would like to speak with an experienced attorney, we are here to help. Contact Hupy and Abraham online or call us directly at 800-800-5678 or start a live chat anytime at Hupy.com.