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Caregiver Holiday tips for the The holidays should be a time filled with family and friends, laughter and reminiscing, happiness and joy. Yet for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the holidays can often generate mixed emotions. As the core of your loved one’s identity is slowly erased by dementia, family and friends face grief over the loss of who their loved one used to be, the previous person they were before the disease took hold. These feelings are often exacerbated around the holidays, a time when you believe you should feel happy, but may instead find yourself stressed, sad, frustrated or even angry with the loss you and your family are experiencing. Edgewood is here to reinforce the notion that it’s totally normal and common to experience a sense of loss for who your loved one used to be, especially when many fond memories are tied to feelings and traditions experienced each holiday. However, just because the holidays may not be quite the same as years past doesn’t mean you and your loved ones can’t still embrace and enjoy the season. It may simply require some improvising. Remember to give yourself some grace during this particularly hectic time of year. This may require letting go of some of your long-running family traditions. You can’t expect to have the time or energy to participate in all the holiday activities you once did. However, you can be creative in adjusting some traditions and still find meaning and joy for you and your family. The Memory Care Experts at Edgewood in Mandan have compiled a list of recommendations and tips, to ensure your holiday events are successful: 1. Set Expectations - familiarize family & friends with the current condition of your loved one. Let them know the situation and protocols for visiting. The less surprised they are, the more comfortable everyone will be. On the flipside, be sure to talk to your loved one about who’s coming to visit. In preparation, try playing familiar seasonal music, serving seasonal food, watching familiar holiday movies; anything to remind him or her of fond holiday memories and help ensure he or she is in good spirits for visitors. 2. Adapt Gift Giving - share a list of useful or needed gifts; family & friends will appreciate the help! Examples include items that make dressing or bathing easier, photo albums or videos filled with the people they love or an iPod/MP3 player loaded with his or her favorite music or even messages from family & friends. 3. Timing is Everything, Including Down Time - planning events for earlier in the day will help decrease the chance of your loved one being overly tired as well as decreasing the likelihood of Sundowners Syndrome (confusion, anxiety or aggression that sometimes happen later in the day). Also plan quiet activities such as listening to soft music or relaxing by a warm fireplace, to ensure your loved one doesn’t become too overwhelmed. 4. Create New, Streamlined Traditions - holiday activities can be a sensory overload for almost anyone, especially those with dementia. Consider holding simpler holiday gatherings with fewer people, for shorter lengths of time. Unfortunately, this may also include toning down your holiday decorations. 5. Trust Your Instincts - as a caregiver, you know your loved one’s abilities better than anyone else. This means you know what’s likely to upset and agitate versus what will bring joy and comfort to him or her. Resist pressure from other family members and friends to celebrate the way they would’ve previously expected you to. You cannot possibly control everything, but by planning and setting firm boundaries you can avoid needless holiday stress. 6. And Like They Say, Give Yourself Some Grace - remember to be kind and patient with yourself, take breaks and ask for help when you need it. Give yourself the gift of trying Edgewood in Mandan’s Adult Day Services or Short Term Stay program! They’ll provide the helping hand you need, while you rest and rejuvenate. Learn More About Edgewood’s Adult Day Services & Short Term Stay Programs: Adult Day Services is a specialized program serving those affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, who benefit from regularly interacting and engaging with other individuals similarly affected. • • • • Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory care Nutritious, home-cooked meals & snacks Individualized and group life enrichment activities Medication assistance with nurse supervision & assistance with other activities of daily living Engaging Life Stations What’s a Life Station? Life Stations are hands-on and dynamic, they are meant to spark old memories and create activities that encourage interest, movement and interaction. These stations are helpful in the retention of memories from years past and create moments of joy. Activities such as gardening, working with tools, desk work or folding laundry help those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia revisit and retain memories in a comforting way while providing a sense of purpose through familiar activities. Usually those who engage in Life Stations are less likely to wander, have reduced levels of stress and anxiety and exhibit a calmer demeanor. Ask the Edgewood staff for ideas on how to create your own Life Stations at home! &!"% #$ Thursday, March 21 at 12pm Enjoy lunch & presentation - Taking the Stress out of Holiday Caregiving. The holidays can be a stressful time, especially when caring for a loved one with dementia. Learn ways to adjust your Easter traditions to ensure enjoyment for all. Please RSVP by March 19 Short Term Stays are exactly what they say they are: brief, overnight stays in a fully-furnished Memory Care apartment. Stays can be as short as 24 hours or up to several months. Adult Day Services and Short Term Stay clients enjoy most all the same services and amenities as Edgewood’s current residents: • 24-hour staffing and on-call nurse coverage • Safe, secure environment • Care from staff members with specific training in Independent Living, Assisted Living & Memory Care RSVP 663.5664 | 2801 39th Ave SE Mandan | edgewoodhealthcare.com

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