Updated 30 November 2018

5 ways to take care of an Alzheimer's sufferer during the holidays

Alzheimer's is a debilitating disease but you can make it easier for family members with these five tips.

The holiday season can be stressful, especially for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Not only is there the possibility of strange surroundings for a visiting family member suffering from Alzheimer's, but the change in routine can also be challenging.

According to Health24, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common forms of dementia. It results in progressive deterioration of brain tissue, which leads to memory loss, personality changes, forgetfulness and the inability to carry out ordinary tasks and functions.

How to help

The onset of Alzheimer's disease can be frustrating for both the sufferer and family. But this doesn't mean that the holidays should be a heartbreaking experience.

The US National Institute on Aging suggests some simple ways you can help a family member suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's.

1. Use photos

If you have a relative living with you, a constant influx of visitors can be upsetting if they have difficulty recognising people. Show them a photo of a guest a week before their arrival. Each day show them the photo while explaining who the visitor is.

woman looking at photos on her tablet

2. Call ahead

Before visitors arrive, set up a phone call between your loved one and the guest. This will help everyone feel a bit more prepared. Explain to guests that they need to call ahead and check with you before arriving as this will give you more time to put the Alzheimer's patient at ease. 

elderly man on phone

3. Map out a routine

Stick to daily routines as much as possible. Respect their routines and make it clear that they are not inconveniencing you.

retro alarm clock on table

4. Make time for rest

Give the person with Alzheimer's disease plenty of time to rest. Don't force them to stay up and join in the activities.

elderly woman sleeping

5. A home away from home

When an elderly relative suffering from Alzheimer's disease is visiting you, a strange room and surroundings might upset them. Make their guest room as comfortable as possible and encourage them to bring familiar bedding along.

woman taking care of elderly woman

Image credits: iStock