The holiday season may be one of the most challenging times for an Alzheimer’s caregiver and their family. For most of us, the change you see in your loved one is gradual. One year they might forget to buy a host or hostess gift like they always had before. Another year they could get confused while making a signature side dish. Later on, they may not even know it’s a holiday or recognize the people gathered. A crowded room or dinner table becomes too much to handle.
To a loved one with Alzheimer’s, a holiday is no different from any other day. So just like any other day, you must learn to enter their world. Be flexible. Remember that this disease changes a person; they’re not being belligerent or antisocial on purpose. Know that traditions may have to be modified or replaced. Look for opportunity, rather than looking back.
Seeing the holiday through your loved one’s eyes leaves you free from expectation and gives you both the chance to share in happiness. Moments of joy between you and the one living with Alzheimer’s always sneak up at the most unexpected times. There is a lot of life to live and love to be shared, it just takes different forms over the years. Practice gratitude for the person your loved one is today, and try to appreciate those happy moments while you’re in them.
Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Martin J. Schreiber, Author of My Two Elaines and Former Wisconsin Gov.
Marty is the primary caregiver for his wife Elaine, for whom his book is named. He compassionately promotes the value of learning about Alzheimer's and caregiving via personal or online appearances and serving as a media source. You'll enjoy his honesty and even his humor. Schedule Marty for your event in 2022 via the mytwoelaines.com website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"If there's one thing worse than Alzheimer's, it's ignorance of the disease."
-- Marty Schreiber