Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we are smack in the middle of the Christmas/Holiday season. Your loved one who’s now living with dementia or the multiple challenges of senior life have always been the cornerstone of family Holidays and traditions. The challenges increase for all caregivers to continue the tradition with each new passing Holiday season. So, your friends, memory care professionals, and assisted living professionals here at Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Athens are back to offer you all some advice as once again you negotiate the Holiday season as a primary care giver.
Shop from home. Shopping, while oftentimes a large part of the season, will most likely bring undue stress to both the person living with dementia and the family caregiver. Avoid the sensory overload, large crowds, and confusing environment by shopping online or through a catalogue with your loved one. They can still choose gifts for the family but will be able to do so in the comfort and safety of their own home.
Create a new take on old traditions. Holiday family outings, such as outdoor ice-skating, caroling, or seeing “The Nutcracker” at a local playhouse, hold fond memories — but may not be feasible in the wake of dementia. Revamp these holiday traditions by taking a snowy day walk, lighting a fire and listening to Christmas music, or finding a version of “The Nutcracker” on DVD for family movie night. Time spent with family is the most important thing during holidays — the ice-skating, caroling and theatre are simply activities.
Remember a few of your favorite things. While it may seem like this year is going to be different than all the rest, it’s important (for both the caregiver and the person with dementia) to reminisce holidays past. Take the time during a holiday family get-together to share photos from previous celebrations, to recall funny family bloopers, and to engage in activities that your loved one is still able to — like decorating the Christmas tree or helping bake holiday treats.
As you’re adjusting to how things will be this holiday season (and those to come) — instead of how things once were — it’s important to remember the good and to hold onto joyful past memories in the wake of holiday stress. Focusing on the positive, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the negative, will not only help you cope and celebrate, but also encourage your loved one to enjoy such a special time, and to be at peace.
For those of you selflessly exercising the labor of love caring for you memory challenged or physically challenged loved ones, all of us at Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care in Athens hold you in the highest regard. We wish you and your entire family warmth and peace throughout this holiday season and going forward into 2020.