The holiday season is upon us and stress is a factor in any household; but having to deal with dementia on top of it all can be overwhelming. Whether this is the first holiday you’ll experience with dementia or one of many, you have to prepare for and learn how to reduce your holiday stress.
Holiday Stress Reduction
It is possible to reduce your holiday stress when dealing with a loved one who has dementia. Here are a few tips:
- Traditions – Accept that some things may have to change, even if they are a tradition. Pick and choose those things that may cause your loved one to get upset or confused.
- New Traditions – Now could be the time to start completely new traditions, depending on what stage of dementia you are dealing with. Sometimes, accepting that instead of big dinner, you simply get together for a piece of already baked pie can make everyone’s life easier.
- Acceptance – Because every person is different you have to accept what limitations are put upon your holiday events according to the behavior of your loved one. Holiday stress is often put upon us because we refuse to accept the reality of our situation, even when we’re not dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia from another illness.
- Explain – You can limit of your holiday stress by simply explaining to others how you will be handling the holidays. Be strong and very specific about what you can and cannot do with your loved one.
- Understand – Not everyone will understand how the mind of a person with dementia works. Be prepared by giving them information regarding dementia with this pamphlet and explain how holiday stress can affect your loved one.
Reducing Holiday Stress as a Caregiver
As the main caregiver, adding holiday stress can truly put your own health at risk.
- Keep a list of things you need to do & get. Don’t be afraid to ask others to pick up items or do certain things on this list in order to help you reduce your holiday stress. (Remember gift cards are easy gifts to give)
- Hire a professional caregiver now to work with you and your loved one through the holiday stress.
- Many who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia may have particular time periods when they are at their most cognitive. Try to plan any events around this time period; but be prepared to have to leave or cancel.
- Avoid crowds and large gatherings. Keeping things simple will help reduce your overall holiday stress from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
Holidays are special because of the people you share them with, not the things that are involved. We hope you enjoy a holiday season that is with the least amount of holiday stress possible and we are always here to help.
Photo by CJS*64 A man with a camera