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Simple Ways To Make The Holidays More Engaging For A Parent With Alzheimer’s

Posted on December 17, 2018 with 0 comments

Holiday gatherings can create confusing, stressful situations for parents living with Alzheimer’s. You can make them more comfortable and engaged in holiday festivities by following a few strategies. Remember that your loved one has unique needs, so it’s important to choose strategies that you think will work well for him or her.

Don’t Go Overboard With Holiday Decorations

Keep your holiday decorations simple this year to prevent stress and confusion. The worst culprits usually include blinking lights and large displays.

You should also avoid rearranging furniture or placing decorations in walkways. The changes can increase confusion and might create a hazard.

Play Your Parent’s Favorite Music

Music can help people with Alzheimer’s reconnect to their memories and stay calm during the holidays. Think about the holiday music that your parents played when you were a kid. Make a playlist of the songs that you remember your parent enjoying. More likely than not, the familiar music will help your parent remain present during the festivities.

Keep Groups Small

A large crowd can make anyone feel stressed. The experience becomes even more intense for many people living with Alzheimer’s. When a lot of people gather, the noises and activities can overstimulate your parent.

Instead of hosting a large party, have a few relatives over to celebrate with a meal. You can still throw a large party at another time, but you shouldn’t invite your parent.

Hold Get-Togethers at a Good Time of the Day

Your parent probably feels more lucid and engaged during certain parts of the day. A lot of people living with Alzheimer’s get agitated in the evening. They’ve had all of the stimulation that they can endure for the day, so their symptoms become stronger.

Some people with Alzheimer’s don’t wake up until late in the morning. Plan your gathering for a convenient time that doesn’t interfere with your parent’s sleep and life schedule.

Include Activities Your Parent Loves

Planning activities that your parent loves will keep him or her happier and more connected to the gathering. For instance, if your parent has fond memories of making Christmas cookies, then you can sit down at the kitchen table to make cookies together. If your parent enjoys singing, then start a family sing-along.

Stick to Everyday Foods

A lot of people have lavish holiday meals that include foods they don’t usually eat during the rest of the year. Perhaps you make a turkey, a rich gravy, or sugary cakes.

Many older people have sensitive stomachs that don’t respond well to abrupt changes in diet. Special foods can lead to gastrointestinal issues that will make your parent uncomfortable.

Also, avoid sugar and alcohol during holiday gatherings with your parent. Sugar and alcohol can affect the personalities of people with Alzheimer’s. Your parent could become hostile and aggravated by these substances.

Keep Events Short

Limit how long your events last so you don’t wear out your parent. A couple of hours is usually plenty for most people living with Alzheimer’s. Plus, you don’t want to disturb your parent’s daily schedule more than necessary.

Prepare a Quiet Place to Relax

No matter how much you prepare, your parent may become overstimulated or confused during your holiday gathering. Prepare a quiet place to relax so you can handle outbursts. Your parent will appreciate the opportunity to take breaks when needed.

Your parent can have a meaningful holiday experience as long as you take the symptoms of Alzheimer’s into consideration. Avoid your parent’s triggers, and provide as many comforting, familiar activities as possible.

Above all, you should pay attention to your parent throughout the event. If he or she shows signs of aggravation, then it’s probably time to end the party or have your parent go to a quiet place away from the noise.

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