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The holidays are stressful enough as it is. Not only is the weather chilly, you have to get the presents ready, get the food ready, and get the house in ship shape for hosting your holiday guests. But, couple this with celebrating the season with an Alzheimer’s patient, however, and you might need to make a few adjustments to your typical holiday routine. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking about what you can do to ensure your loved one and your guests are comfortable and prepared this holiday season.
Events that happen for long periods of time can make Alzheimer’s patients feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. The best time of day for an Alzheimer’s patient to experience an event comfortably is actually the morning, so if you are planning something for the holidays two good rules of thumb are to keep it brief and keep it before noon. You’ll also want to avoid long periods of travel as this can be stress inducing for your loved one, not to mention, increases the likelihood of “sundowning,” which for Alzheimer’s patients means irritability and exacerbated confusion due to tiredness typically around or just after dusk.
Pass on Hosting
Sometimes it’s best to simply pass on hosting the party this year. The hustle of preparing for guests can startle or overstimulate your loved one, as well as affect their routines. In the case of Alzheimer’s patients, routine is key, and the changes stirred up by the holidays in general will likely already affect that routine.
Although it’s difficult to truly prepare someone with short term memory loss for the holidays, you can help your senior loved one feel more secure by speaking clearly with them whenever you can about the holiday season and your plans. Be prepared to repeat yourself, and try to keep your patience. If you are travelling, be sure to pack the necessary items to keep your loved one as close to their normal routine as possible. Familiar items are crucial so don’t skimp on packing their favorite blankets, clothes, etc. Even little things like bedside trinkets can help increase their comfort.
Solid preparation isn’t simply about your senior loved one. You’ll also want to take some time to address any family or friends’ expectations of any events where your senior loved one is in attendance. It’s especially important to familiarize children with what to expect as Alzheimer’s patients sometimes mimic when they’re confused, meaning a crying, frightened child can easily trigger your loved one into an episode.
Take Care of Yourself
Caregiving is exhausting. Don’t forget to take time out to care for yourself. Staying alert and on top of situations when caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a full-time job. With the added stress of the holidays, it’s crucial that you take the time you need to prevent stress. Your loved one is not immune to your emotional reactions so keep in mind that your moods may impact theirs.
Caregiving for an Alzheimer’s patient can be difficult and may not always be the best option for your senior loved one. If you’ve considered an in-home care provider or a nursing home but are unable to afford the cost, fortunately, there are options available to increase your cashflow so you can better serve your loved one’s needs. In fact, if your senior loved one still maintains a life insurance policy they no longer need, did you know they can sell all or a portion of that policy for more than the cash surrender value? This is called a life settlement, or viatical. Contact Life Settlement Advisors today to learn more about the life settlement process or see if your parents pre-qualify.
Herbert and Nancy were both in their early 80’s and Nancy has been dealing with Alzheimer’s for the past year. Herbert refused to put Nancy into a nursing facility but the care Nancy required was affecting Herbert’s wellbeing and he could no longer leave Nancy home alone. Herbert sold his life insurance policy for $76,000 and used the proceeds to hire in-home care for Nancy.
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