The holiday season is upon us and it is a time we spend with family, friends and loved ones. However, we must not forget that Covid-19 cases are rising with each passing day. All necessary precautions should be taken by children, adults and especially seniors.
The risk of getting infected by this virus is higher among seniors who are already suffering from a disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. At the same time, there also arises a lot of responsibility upon caregivers to ensure that their loved one who is suffering from such a disease should be very careful during this holiday season.
So, here are some tips for dementia caregivers to celebrate these holidays in the safest manner possible-
Connect Through Technology
There are a bunch of apps such as Skype, Google Meet, FaceTime and Zoom which are great for video calling with a large group of people. The whole family can sing carols together, share photos of past gatherings and even play games with each other. Everyone can bring their food on the video call and it will be like a virtual dinner party!
Take Precautions For In-Person Gatherings
If you are planning to meet in person then make sure you have not been in close contact with anyone in the past 14 days. Arrange for masks, sanitizers and maintain at least 6 feet distance from elderly people. Urge the guests to bring their own food and arrange the meet in a remote location such as an isolated park where nobody is nearby. If someone has symptoms of coronavirus such as cough and fever then avoid inviting them to the meet.
Celebrating With Social Distancing
Another way to celebrate the festive season with your loved one suffering from dementia is by dropping off food and care packages on their doorstep to avoid any close contact. You can even schedule your own holiday parade by asking friends and family to drive past the person’s home festive decorations and homemade signs. This way all holiday traditions can still be continued. If the neighbourhood is empty, you can even take your loved one out for a walk with proper precautions so that they can enjoy the holiday lights, decorations and some fresh air.
Involve Your Loved One In The Preparations
When you’re preparing special holiday meals, wrapping presents or putting up decorations in your home, involve your loved one suffering from dementia as much as possible. Avoid giving them any complicated tasks which might make them feel agitated. Instead, give them simple chores such as washing vegetables for dinner or stacking presents on top of each other. This will not only make them feel involved but it will also keep them engaged. Let them do whatever they enjoy and find happiness in such as watching their favourite holiday movie.
Practicing Gift Giving
Gift giving is a common practice among friends and family during the holidays. When picking a gift for your loved one suffering from dementia, urge them to go for simple things such as a sweater, photo album or chocolates. This will not only uplift their mood but also add to remembering you better by the gift you gave them. On the other hand, avoid giving anything complicated or even slightly dangerous such as pointed tools.
When you are making any holiday plans, be sure to make it comfortable and suitable for your loved one suffering from dementia. Try not to disturb their daily routine and ensure that they adhere to it as much as possible. This way there will be no confusion while celebrating the festive season.
Lastly, do not forget to take care of yourself as the work increases during the holiday season. Look out for dementia caregiving tips to avoid stress, anxiety or burnout. Try to become a more optimistic caregiver by practicing good habits such as yoga and meditation.