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The holidays are a time full of celebration, joy and special occasions with family and friends. For people living with Alzheimer's disease the season can present special challenges. The Alzheimer's Association, California Southland Chapter is offering "Home For The Holidays," a handy guide with tips and advice for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease.
The guide shows how, with careful planning, family celebrations can be a meaningful part of the holidays while ensuring safety, comfort and enjoyment for everyone. The tips can help alleviate some of the stress associated with the additional activities and changes in routine at this time of year.
"Home for the Holidays" is available for download through the chapter website, alz.org/socal or by calling the 24-hour Helpline at (800) 272-3900.
During this season many family members from out of town spend time with older relatives and might see significant changes in memory, personality, and decision making ability. Experts are available to speak with people who are concerned, and can assist those seeking information or resources for loved ones or themselves. Anyone with questions about Alzheimer's disease is encouraged to call toll-free and there is no charge for the consultation.
Highlights from the Alzheimer's Association "Home for the Holidays" Guide:
Caregiving responsibilities combined with holiday traditions can take their toll on Alzheimer's families, and can be especially difficult for caregivers. With some preparation, your celebrations can be filled with joy and magical moments to cherish.
1. Adjust your expectations
No one, including yourself, should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event.
Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage
Choose holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you
Host a small family dinner instead of throwing a big holiday party
Consider serving a catered or takeout holiday meal. Many grocery stores and restaurants offer meals to go.
Start a new tradition. Host a potluck dinner where family or friends each bring a dish
2. Involve the affected individual in holiday festivities
People with memory loss can often share in activities. Here are a few ideas:
Bake favorite holiday recipes together. The person can stir batter or decorate cookies.
Set the table. Avoid centerpieces with candles and artificial fruits and berries that could be mistaken for edible snacks.
Talk about events to include in a holiday letter
Listen to seasonal music together.
Read holiday cards you receive together
Look through photo albums or scrapbooks. Reminisce about people in the pictures and past events.
Watch a favorite holiday movie together
3. Celebrate at the care facility:
Join your loved one at the facility-planned holiday activities
Bring a favorite holiday food to share
Sing holiday songs. Ask if other residents can join in.
Read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud
For more caregiving tips and information, visit the Alzheimer's Association, California Southland Chapter website (alz.org/socal) or call (800) 272-3900.
Published: Dec. 5, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 34