Holidays and Alzheimer’s

Teri Sellers

Thanksgiving and Christmas can be wonderful and magical. It is time for families and friends to get together, but this year families that have a loved one with dementia have the added burden of dealing with COVID-19.

In normal times, the holidays are often filled with opportunities for togetherness, sharing, laughter, and memories. We also know that a person living with dementia may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes that dementia has inflicted. Add to that the caregivers may feel overwhelmed, stressed, and depressed.

Traveling to visit friends and family may not be an option this holiday season. So how can you bring joy back? Adjust your expectations! Easier said than done, but here are a few tips.

* Prepare in advance by talking with your friends and family. Make sure they understand your caregiving situation and concerns.

* Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. Caregivers are not action heroes with unlimited stamina and superpowers.

* Rethink gift giving. Keep it simple. It really is the thought that counts!

* Enjoy the special little things of the holiday season. I personally love Christmas music and watching all those Christmas movies! Bake cookies with your loved one and then eat the treats!

* Maintain your loved one’s normal routine as much as possible. A good friend of mine always says, “The secret sauce to dementia care is a routine that they can depend on. A routine helps them feel safe and secure.”

Our support group will be meeting online on Zoom until we can meet again in person. We will have two meetings each month, the first and third Saturdays of each month, at 9 a.m. I am sure that many of you miss the information and friendships this group has provided, but it is more important to stay safe.

You are not alone.

If you are not currently part of this group and have a loved one with dementia, please contact me to join. I share weekly informational emails and am available to help you through this challenging journey called dementia.

For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of facilitating this group, and I know the benefits of a support group. Caring for someone with dementia in and of itself is isolating, and now we are further self-isolating to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

For information, contact Teri Sellers at 602-793-0299 or [email protected]