Caregivers: Tips to find time for the holidays

Holiday shopping can be hectic and this time of year we all can get a bit crazy with the demands made on us: special baking, list making, shopping, wrapping, mailing, sending cards, on and on. Add to all that pressure, caring for a loved one with dementia.

Taking him or her to the mall with you could be troublesome for them: the music, the crowds, the over-stimulation. There is always the chance that they might get lost in the crowd no matter how careful you are.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to leave your spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s home alone, you just might have to make shorter, more frequent trips to the mall. If your loved one cannot be left alone, then what?

Is there a young adult at home who might plan that day to stay home with Dad or Grandmother? Could you add another day or two at the Adult Day Program to allow you to take care of business? But if these suggestions are not possible for your situation, then what?

The holidays are a time for many traditions in homes across the world. Your life may have changed considerably in the last few years due to Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. So, maybe the “traditions” need to be re-evaluated.

If your holiday shopping list is long, it might be a real time saver to order gifts online and ship them directly to the recipient. You can still enclose a personal message to the person getting your gift.

For folks who are especially concerned about a “cause,” be it the Humane Society, or a Women’s Co-op in a Third World Country, or even the Alzheimer’s Association, consider making a contribution in their name. It is much simpler than coming up with a meaningful personal gift, buying it, wrapping it and delivering it before Christmas.

Maybe you cut down on the elaborate menu for your holiday party, or ask people coming for dinner to bring a dish so you are not responsible for preparing everything. Instead of going to a familiar performance , you and your family could drive through one of the local neighborhoods and enjoy the many lights and displays the homeowners have assembled for others to enjoy.

Maybe you can change how you celebrate one another this year. After all, isn’t the important part of this holiday sharing time and love with those who mean the most to us?

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