Navigating the holidays with a loved ones with a diagnosis

Whether it’s how many people you invite or what foods you eat, traditions might change.
The holidays can be a stressful time for both the caregiver and the person with a diagnosis....
The holidays can be a stressful time for both the caregiver and the person with a diagnosis. (The Alzheimer's Association)(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 3:04 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Celebrating the holidays is often a happy thing, but for people taking care of a loved one who is sick, it can bring an added layer of stress.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for the caregiver and the person with a diagnosis. For people with a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association has advice.

To help the caregiver and the person with memory loss, stay educated on their diagnosis. Stepping in to help the caregiver is also a big help.

“It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but maybe once a week you come over and spend some time with your loved one and it gives the caregiver some time to go to the grocery store or even like go be somewhere else in peace and quite and have a refresh,” said Sydney Swartz, Program Manager with the Central and Western VA Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Large crowds and changes to routines can be very hard to navigate. The Alzheimer’s Association said you may need to change some traditions to make the holidays a little smoother.

Whether it’s how many people you invite or what foods you eat, traditions might change.

“Instead of looking at it as ‘we’re changing all of our traditions, this is so frustrating,’ you’re actually just creating new ones instead, so really shifting the perspective of that instead. It’s a very easy shift to make but really can make a huge difference,” said Swartz.

The Alzheimer’s Association does have a helpline that runs 24/7, and it is open during the holidays, so if you’re caring for someone with dementia and need help.