By Emily Irvin, MSSA –
Social Work Specialist
The holidays can be a stressful time for people. However, if you are a caregiver, the stress can be even more overwhelming. You may feel that you don’t have any free time to go shopping or even enjoy the holiday energy. There are a few things you can do to jump these hurdles and participate in the holiday spirit.
- If you need to get a break, call on a trusted neighbor, friend or relative to give you a few hours of time to shop or complete those on-line orders, plan holiday meals and get the house ready for company. If family members ask you what you would like as a holiday present, tell them that a few hours of time alone would be the best gift ever!
- To involve your loved one in the holiday spirit, go out for a drive at night to see the holiday lights together. You can play holiday music during the day, ask your loved one to bake with you, set-up the dining table with holiday plates, hang holiday decorations and even stamp those holiday cards for you. Your loved one may be able to put ornaments on the tree or set-up the Menorah candle.
There are some loved ones with memory issues who may not be able to handle all of the holiday stimulation. If he or she would do better without too much company, then have family members take turns providing one-on-one visits. This may be especially helpful for a loved one who is not comfortable being outside of his or her own home.
If your loved one is able to attend outside gatherings, educate other family members about their medical condition and what they can expect. If young children will be around, it may be best to explain in a simple way that their loved one is still the same person, but just has trouble remembering things or may act a little differently because dementia is a brain disease. Also, designate family members to take shifts in assisting your loved one, so everyone can enjoy and relax.