Last month, we posted a blog on Holiday Respite Care, focused on reducing stress for the family caregiver. We also included a few ideas about how to make the time more enjoyable for elderly family members. What about a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease? We'd like to share additional recommendations for patients with Alzheimer's or other dementia, whether cared for at home or in another facility. These tips may be helpful both to caregivers and to other family members, so be sure to share them with others.
For Alzheimer's patients cared for at home:
- Engage with your loved one. Find a quiet activity such as reading holiday cards or telling stories about Christmas from your loved one's childhood. Stick to a pretty normal routine and allow your loved one to rest as needed.
- Don't plan a loud, large event. Minimize exposing your loved one to busy activities, large groups or exuberant children. Choose instead quiet activities where small groups of two or three people can sit and talk with your loved one.
- Avoid too many lights, candles or shiny decorations. We know, it's Christmas. But changing the home environment into a veritable North Pole of activity can be stressful to a person with Alzheimer's Disease. New candles or decorations might introduce safety concerns, distractions or anxiety.
- Ask for help. Family members can take turns caring for your loved one, allowing visitation in small groups for short periods of time. A great way to reduce stress during the holidays is to seek Holiday Respite Care for your loved one.
For Alzheimer's patients cared for at another facility:
- Coordinate visitation times. Speak to facility staff about visiting during the least disruptive times. Perhaps the facility has planned activities for the residents to reduce stress for everyone, or caregivers can recommend your loved one's best time of day.
- Visit in small groups. The days of getting extended families together for a group picture may be behind you. Instead, coordinate with other family members to visit in small groups, perhaps two or three people at a time. This might help reduce confusion and distractions.
- Stay in a small, familiar space. Similar to visiting in small groups, sitting with your loved one in a small, familiar room will reduce anxiety and minimize distractions. This allows you to speak quietly and to hear the conversation, too.
- Offer a simple, practical gift. Gifts that are meaningful to you may not be helpful, while something simple such as a teddy bear, a blanket or a pillow may be make the biggest impact. Ask a caregiver for ideas!
If needed, Hill Country Care Providers offers Holiday Respite Care, covering a number of important duties such as:
- Companion Care, including watching movies or favorite television shows together
- Personal Care such as bathing, dressing, grooming, incontinent care or dental care
- Meal preparation, assisting with eating
- Transfers in and out of bed, wheelchair or motor vehicles
- Transportation to physician appointments, dentists, shopping or errands
- Spiritual activities that encompass singing, walking outside and accompanying to church
Learn More about Hill Country Care Providers and Holiday Respite Care.