Posted: December 21, 2022
For most families, the holidays are about spending quality time with loved ones. But the holidays can be challenging for people with a disability and those who care for them. With a few helpful holiday tips for caregivers, we hope this season can be less stressful and more enjoyable.
It’s important that you update family and friends about the person’s condition. This is especially important if changes in appearance or behaviors and increased memory loss have become more apparent. Be honest. The purpose is to maintain their dignity, avoid embarrassment, and create a calm and comfortable environment.
Recognize agitation, stress and discomfort. Signs include withdrawal and seeking isolation, repetition in behaviors and speech, pacing and outbursts. If your person is self-isolating, allow them that time. Avoid continued coaxing, as this may lead to agitation.
Here are some tips to avoid overwhelming your loved one this holiday season:
Prioritizing your own self-care is an incredibly important part of being a caregiver. When your physical, mental and emotional well-being are tended to, you are in a better position to be able to provide care for your loved one. Taking time to de-stress and reenergize is beneficial for everyone.
Here are a few ways you can take care of yourself and avoid burnout this holiday season:
Caregivers wear many hats and must be skillful in numerous areas. Being responsible for the health and safety of another adult is no easy feat. Caregivers may be called upon to do things that they have never been responsible for, such as paying bills, tracking medications, or providing personal care, including bathing, toileting and oral hygiene.
Planning and executing activities for an adult is a full-time job. There is a delicate balance in structuring activities to meet the person where they are in the disease process. You don’t want to set them up for failure by giving them something that is beyond their ability, but you also don’t want to take away their dignity with childlike games. Dementia is a moving target, and the caregiver must be able to move, think and act quickly in their support of the person with dementia.
Caring for a person with dementia can be very stressful. Caregivers will need help at some point, but where can they turn for that support?
Cappella of Grand Junction has a Caregiver Support Group the first Thursday of every month from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Support groups offer participants a safe space to vent, cry, laugh, share stories and, above all, obtain valuable information from other caregivers who are experiencing or have been in similar situations.
Cappella of Grand Junction will reintroduce Memory Café in the spring of 2023. Memory Café is a wonderfully welcoming place for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia or brain disorders and their caregivers. In this safe and comfortable space, caregivers and their loved ones can socialize, enjoy good food, listen to music, play games and take a break from the normal routine. For more information on either of our community support programs, please contact Joni Karp at 970.822.7070.
Written by Joni Karp, Sales & Marketing Director at Cappella of Grand Junction