Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

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The holiday season is a time to be enjoyed with family and friends, but for the ten million people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, this time of the year can be stressful and difficult. Many people are already balancing the responsibility of caregiving with everyday life and now have to change their routine and worry about decorating, baking, entertaining and shopping. The added pressure of this time of the year can be very overwhelming.

To help ease the strain, ARARF offers the following tips for enjoying and surviving the holidays:

1. Even though the holidays are a time for giving; don’t be ashamed to ask for more help from friends, family, and neighbors.

2. It’s OK to take time for yourself. Consider using a regular respite caregiver to allow for personal time each week so you can manage your holiday to-do list. Finally, make sure you eat properly and get enough sleep during the holiday season.

3. Make a New Year’s resolution to join an Alzheimer’s support group.

4. The holidays can be over stimulating and change in routine can be difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Try to maintain your routine and be attentive to the impact of blinking lights, loud music, big crowds and other large family gatherings.

5. Recognize that your loved ones will be different this year, and have realistic expectations about what they can do.

6. Keep or adapt holiday family traditions that are important to you. Include the person with AD as much as possible.

7. Encourage friends and family to visit. Limit the number of visitors at one time, and try to schedule visits during the time of day when the person is at his or her best.

8. The holidays are a time for reflection and giving thanks. Writing your personal story can be a powerful and therapeutic stress relieving tool for you. Be sure to include the benefits you have gained.

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