Christmas is behind us and New Year’s is rushing toward us. Adding to the normal hustle and bustle is the specter of COVID, and when combined with a household that be caregivers for a person living with Alzheimer’s it may seem an insurmountable one-two punch.
“Due to changes a person living with Alzheimer’s may have undergone, they may feel an extra sense of loss during the holidays,” said Audrey Kwik, director of program services for the North Central Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “On the other side of the coin, caregivers who are trying to maintain holiday traditions and keep up with COVID safety precautions could also be stressing.”
No matter how you plan to celebrate, the safest option still continues to be avoiding anyone outside of your immediate household.
“We used to make a phone call to Grandma who might have been halfway across the country. Now we can video chat in real time. That’s a great way to include people in your holidays,” Kwik said. “Don’t forget holiday cards or even dropping off baked goods.”
If you do plan to host for older adults, Kwik recommends weighing their health concerns into the equation.
“Weather permitting, go outside,” she said. “Don’t take part if you’ve been exposed to COVID, and practice social distancing.”
Try spreading cheer by giving the person in your household living with dementia a role. Depending on their condition, they can help set the table or put out some decorations.
“Probably the most important thing you can do is to just concentrate on what makes them and you happy. Keep to your old traditions and start some new ones as you can,” Kwik said.
Kwik also has some recommendations for gift giving.
“Know your recipient. Complicated games or dangerous tools are out,” she said. “Try comfortable clothing, music or even photo albums.”
If someone is unable to share in the gift opening, Kwik again advises use of a video call.
“There’s no reason why the holidays can’t remain a joyful time of year,” she said. “Stick to the basics and take the precautions we should all be used to by now.”