Throughout the year, special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, or family gatherings can add extra stressors to a person’s everyday life such as, shopping, baking, decorating, and possibly traveling. For those who also care for a loved one who suffers from Dementia or Alzheimer’s, trying to accomplish these tasks while providing 24 hour care can be extremely difficult. However, if you plan appropriately, it is possible to not only maintain your sanity, but actually enjoy these special occasions.
Special occasions can also create stress for your loved one whose anxiety level can often mirror your own. Simple changes in routine can cause unexpected anxiety which may increase with the inability to verbalize what they are feeling. Additionally, it is not unusual for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for example, to become agitated or confused around other . In order to best achieve a stress free special occasion, the following suggestions may be helpful:
- Try to maintain your regular routine.
- Prepare others for the changes in your loved ones well being
- Take care of yourself. It is essential that you maintain your own health including getting appropriate rest, exercise, and food. This may require utilizing adult day care or respite care.
- Avoid traveling long distances.
- Avoid large gatherings or at a minimum, make sure younger children with their television and video games will be located primarily in a separate area since loud noises or quick movements can be very upsetting to a person suffering from Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no” to invitations that you may receive.
- Be realistic. Don’t try to re-create the get-togethers of old.
The long term health of your loved one depends on the decisions you make. It is therefore extremely important, particularly during special occasions, that you plan ahead. While you certainly cannot expect things to return to normal, it is possible to enjoy special occasions. By following the above suggestions, you can still enjoy special occasions during the years to come.