Maximizing Joy This Holiday Season
And just like that, the 2022 holiday season is upon us.
For many, the holidays are cherished times, with visits from loved ones, the making and sharing of meals, and a welcomed change in routine. But that change, combined with the excitement of the season, can be stressful for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, leading to issues with behavior, mood, thinking, and sleeping. Caregivers also carry an immense weight and experience their own increased levels of stress and mood dysregulation.
But there are tangible ways that everyone impacted by dementia can not only survive this busy time of year, but truly enjoy the special moments. Here are 4 tips to do just that.
Adjust Your Expectations
News flash…things will go wrong! The turkey may be overcooked, the siblings might have a spat, the gift may not arrive on time, and there may be a delayed flight or two. But when we recognize and accept that hiccups will inevitably arise, we can move passed them with grace and perhaps with a sense of humor. It helps to focus on and be grateful for all the things that are going right – the joy on your loved ones faces, the perfectly seasoned side dish, the laughter coming from the next room. There is joyfulness and gratitude to be found if you can pause long enough to notice it.
Make a New Tradition
It’s never too late to start a new tradition. Or let go of an old one. Instead of cooking a fancy four-course meal, host a potluck. Rather than spending time and money trying to find the perfect gift, give those you love an experience you can share together. If your annual trip to see family feels daunting this year, ask if they’d be willing to make the trek to you. As a caretaker, have a lot on your plate, and you deserve all the compassion and grace that you give to the people you love most.
It’s ok to say “no” to that holiday party, to that loud music, or to that large group of visitors. People with dementia tend to fare better when celebrations are small, relaxed, and as familiar as possible. Kindly, let any guests know ahead of time about any changes in the behavior or memory of your loved one and how those changes necessitate you setting some new boundaries and expectations. You can even plan for (or ask that guest bring) an activity that you know will tolerated and perhaps even enjoyed by your loved one.
The word “support” means something different to all of us. You may find support in a weekly call to a trusted friend. You may find that confiding in a mental health professional makes all the difference. Or you may simply need more time for yourself by investing in secondary care so that you can run errands, join a club, or simply take a nap. In fact, an adult day center, like Town Square Sandy Springs, may be a great solution for both you and your loved one. The innovative adult day and dementia resource center, provides a much-needed break for caretakers while providing enrichment, therapeutic activities, and exceptional care for not only persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and mild cognitive impairment – but for anyone that could benefit from the unique programming. Contact us to learn more.