December 15, 2017

Holiday Tips for Family Caregivers

As the holiday season is upon us, families will be drawing together to spend time making memories, sharing meals and often visiting with those they haven’t seen in a while. Family caregivers can feel overwhelmed as well as their loved ones during these times that used to be festive occasions.  However, those dealing with illness,  Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases, this time of year may not be a joyous for them.  Gatherings can over-stimulate persons and cause confusion, anxiousness or even lead to depression or increased stress.  Many resources are available to help families deal with these situations and it never hurts to ask for help.

The Alzheimer’s Association developed 10 Holiday Survival Tips that can be beneficial for any family caring for an aging parent, regardless of the situation.  Planning ahead and taking care of yourself top the list.  In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s very easy to forget to rest or even maintain a positive attitude sometimes.

Linda Willey, Coordinator of the UAMS Schmieding Home Caregiver Training program in Jonesboro states, “When the holidays present a change in a normal routine, the stimulation can lead to anxiousness and added stress.”  On the other hand, “Depression is often a huge problem when suddenly nobody comes to visit or make plans to spend time with them because things are not as they used to be at Grandma’s house.”  It’s not always a happy time for our aging seniors Willey said.

Some of the other tips from the Alzheimer’s article include preparing other family members about behaviors and other changes with their loved one. In addition, when traveling with an elder who has dementia, be sure to travel wisely and never leave them alone or rush them around.  This can be helpful with anyone who is not familiar with new surroundings.  Allowing extra time and preparing for special services or equipment such as wheel chairs ahead of time can help ease the stress.

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