How To Make A Great Holiday Experience for Those with Alzheimer’s Disease

The holidays are a joyful time full of celebration and activity, but for those families that are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease this time of year can be overly stressful. 
Here are some general holiday tips:
• Ask family members/friends for help. Be specific as to what you’d like assistance with. Often family and friends don’t know where to begin to help. By giving them detailed options the chances you’ll get some relief will improve.
• Include your loved one in holiday decorating. Modify their level of assistance depending on where they are in the disease process. For example, an individual in the later stages may enjoy separating the ornaments by color.
• Have your loved one help with sending out the holiday cards. You can reminisce while stuffing and sealing the envelopes. Sharing special moments together is what we are thankful for not the harried pace and lengthy to-do list!
• Cut down on the size and time of your holiday event. Many of us like to “go all out” for the holidays, but an all-day affair with an abundance of relatives may not be the ideal setting for someone with Alzheimer’s. A smaller function like having family over for dessert might be a more successful scenario for all.
• Maintain a regular routine/schedule for your loved one; visit/interact at a time that is best for them. This provides a sense of security and comfort, which makes your loved one feel safe.
• Sometimes informing your guests ahead of time that your loved one has Alzheimer’s and what to expect before they come to celebrate can be helpful.
• Play familiar music or sing classic Christmas carols together. Music creates mood and connects us all. This is an activity that brings all age groups together.
Communicating with your loved one can be difficult at times. To ensure success inform relatives about the simple communication tips that can keep the conversation going and enjoyable for everyone.
• Limit wording – too many words are confusing.
• Stand or sit in front of the person and make eye contact before speaking.
• Refrain from arguing or trying to use logic when the person is incorrect.
• Ask one question at a time and wait for the answer.
• Use gestures and movements to supplement your point.
• Identify yourself when saying hello.
• Give one step instructions.
Please contact Bader House at 210-683-5413 for a more detailed wallet-size Helpful Hint card.


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