Tuesday Tips for Caregivers: Alzheimer’s, Caregiving, and Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time when many family members get together to eat good food and to share what they are thankful for. If you are caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, your role might be difficult for you to abandon. As a result, you will have to accommodate your loved one and yourself during this holiday season. But this does not mean you cannot or should not celebrate Thanksgiving at all. Below, we will share some tips on how you can include your loved one in Thanksgiving, while being mindful of the things your loved one needs to feel comfortable and safe.
- Plan: This might seem obvious, but it is important to prepare what you will do beforehand to minimize any negative experiences. People with Alzheimer’s often do best when there is a consistent routine. Holidays can be a big change for them. Consider some of these questions: Are you traveling with your loved one? Will people be coming over to your house? Are you hiring a professional caregiver to fill in? These are crucial questions to have figured out before the holidays. We will elaborate more below.
- If staying at home, minimize change: If your loved one lives with you, and you are having people over for the holidays, try to create the most comfortable environment as possible for your loved one. This means avoiding loud, messy environments or a house that is too full. A lot of distractions can aggravate or confuse people with Alzheimer’s. To minimize distraction, your loved one may have to sit periodically in a separate room away from the noise and people. You can still include your loved one by checking in on them throughout the day to gauge their comfort levels.
- Include them in activities: If you are setting up for Thanksgiving, try to find easy tasks that your loved one can help with, like folding napkins or setting the table, assuming they are able.
- Prepare your guests: Sometimes, it can be hard for people with no prior experience with Alzheimer’s patients to interact with someone who has dementia. That is not to say that they should discriminate against having interactions with people with this condition, but that conversations will look different. To avoid difficult social interactions, try to have some activities planned that people can do with your loved one. For instance, they can help your loved one set the table, make simple decorations, or stir/fix some ingredients.
- Plan travels accordingly: If you are traveling with your loved one, then be sure to have everything you need to know in place while traveling to avoid any problems. Have emergency contacts in line both at the airport and at the location where you will be traveling. Make transitions as smooth as possible, like having transportation to and from the hospital planned beforehand. When you arrive at your destination, keep the above tips in mind, understanding that being in a new context can cause some challenges. Being aware of what leads to such challenges is the first step to avoiding them.
If you have any other questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!