December 2020 - The Wesley Communities

Memory Loss & The Holidays

Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss During the Holidays

Typically, the holiday season is a time of festive gatherings, visiting with family near and far, and that special cheer that seems to be all around. For some though, it is also a time that brings added stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed – those caring for a family member or loved one with Dementia care, Alzheimer’s care, or another form of memory loss assistance, oftentimes, fall into this group. Especially this season, with the COVID-19 Pandemic surging once again, this time of year looks very different for everyone and can be quite challenging for caregivers.

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Living With A Loved One Who Has Memory Loss

If you are the caregiver with your loved one living at home with you, try and use the holidays to focus on togetherness and lifting your family member’s spirit. For those loved ones dealing with memory loss, this time of year may bring more emotions including sadness or anxiety, and by focusing on creating moments of happiness, regardless of how small, you can move through the next few months together in a positive way. Share stories of the past, create holiday-inspired art projects or recipes, or decorate the tree together. And it’s okay to ask for help. If you have other family members in your household, lean on them for additional support to make the holidays as enjoyable as they can be for all of you, but most importantly, your loved one.

Make The Holidays Extra Special For Those In Assisted Living

If your loved one is in an assisted living community, there can be added difficulties due to the current pandemic & many states still having visitor restrictions in place. Talk to your community’s executive leadership or activities department to see how they plan to make the holidays extra special and see what options are available to you and your loved one. Many times, regular phone calls or virtual visits can still be scheduled and items such as your loved one’s favorite holiday cookies can be dropped off and delivered to them to bring an added sense of familiarity and comfort.

At The Wesley Communities, our teams have gone above and beyond to ensure our residents and their families stay connected during this time, and the holiday season is no exception. Whether it’s setting up virtual Thanksgiving celebrations or decorating our residents’ rooms with holiday wreaths and garland provided by their children, our focus on the well-being of those who call our communities’ home and their families remain our top priority.

How To Care For Family in Memory Loss Care

It’s also a good idea to speak with other members of your family about what may be best for your loved one with memory loss during the holidays. Have an open discussion about how you are going to approach this time and together, devise an appropriate plan for interacting with a loved one in Dementia care or Alzheimer’s care.

Some compassionate options include:

  • Send your loved one a letter from each of you and have them arrive on Christmas Day.
  • Send in a family video singing your loved one’s favorite Christmas songs.
  • Provide plenty of pictures to serve as active remembrance of the holiday season and togetherness.
  • Schedule structured activities such as music therapy, religious programs outings & exercise at The Wesley Communities.
  • Support the opinions of each other and stick to your decided approach.
  • However, any decided upon approach won’t be a one size fits all, it may make sense to mitigate the holidays as much as possible if you think it will upset your loved one or cause a new sense of confusion.

Help Those Caregivers You Care About

If you aren’t a caregiver but are close to one, take some time to put yourself in his or her shoes. Be considerate, check in on them, and let them know that you are there for them when it may be needed most. Do they need help gathering or wrapping gifts this year? Or maybe they need a day off to themselves. Whatever it may be that would make this time of year a little brighter for them and their loved ones, try and make it happen.

The 2020 holiday season is one of many mixed feelings – all of which are valid and normal given the world we are living in. But, we are family and we are in this together. Be kind to yourself this time of year and know that the role you play as a caregiver in your loved one’s life is selfless and commendable.

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