Help for Holidays: What Experienced Caregivers Do Differently (Part 3)

Here is part 3 of my holiday series for caregivers. This one is potentially the most specific to the holidays, yet still useful year round.

Difference #3: Tradition is Replaced by Comfort and Calm

Around the holidays, caregivers tend to project their need to maintain tradition on the their sick For most dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, there is a point in the progression of the disease when parties and get-togethers become over-stimulating and overwhelming for them. Still, caregivers feel compelled to push forward for the sake of old times.

Undeniably, there is something about the holidays that seems to amplify the emotional impact of loss within the family. Overlooking mom’s withdrawal when in a group, or dad’s confused anxiety when he goes out is very common this time of year.

Even assisted living community’s cater to the families’ needs over their residents when they adjust meal times for their busy holiday celebrations.

The decision to allow the sick person a chance to stick to their routine, and spare them the commotion of a large family get-together is riddled with guilt, pain, and sadness.

Nearly every family caregiver pauses several times throughout the event, wishing the person they knew, and loved were there to experience, and share the family they built and nurtured. Nearly everyone asks whether they deserve to have a good time when a parent or spouse sits elsewhere under care.

It’s the experienced caregiver who handles these sad and guilt riddled thoughts more effectively. They are the ones who recognize the discomfort a party and a break in routine can cause.

This is a form of denial on the part of the caregiver. Denial of what your loved one, and your family have lost to the disease. The experienced caregiver acknowledges their loved one’s inability to connect and enjoy. They acknowledge the loss, and the guilt. They may make a toast in honor their absent parent, spouse or relative take a moment to tell stories of past holidays or simply offer a moment of silence.

Furthermore, the experienced caregiver suggest a low-key alternative celebration in the dementia community where family can visit in small groups and where the person surfing from dementia can exit the party when he/she needs to.

The final installment of this series is coming soon check out the others if you haven’t already.


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