Are you wondering if there are strategies you can put in place before your next family holiday get-together to minimize confusion and anxiety for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease? If so, here are a few ideas and suggestions to keep in mind.
It’s important to remember that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are most comfortable with routines, predictability and structure. Holiday events can be stressful if they alter everyday routines, are over-stimulating or increase interpersonal interaction. This is especially true if those who are doing the interacting are not familiar with Alzheimer’s disease or don’t know how to interact with a person with the disease. Click here to learn more about getting comfortable with visiting someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Holiday traditions may need to be modified in order to include a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Plan ahead. Attempt to limit the number of people who visit at one time. Plan visits during the time of day when your loved one is at his or her best.
Other strategies that caregivers can use to make holidays more pleasant for loved ones with Alzheimer’s include:
Prepare visitors in advance. They may need to adjust their expectations of the visit. And they need to be sensitive to how this disease affects a person’s memory. You should also inform visitors of the impact the disease has had on your loved one’s ability to know what is expected and what is considered acceptable.
Click here for more information from the Alzheimer’s Association on this subject.
By Michelle Kutner, CSW, MSW, CTRS
Specialty Service Consultant