For many years, caregivers in Hays County have had access to a truly caring and supportive peer community. That’s thanks to the hard work of Linda Germain and Annette Dunn, facilitators of the Wimberley Caregiver Support Group. Roberto Sierra, a devoted member of the group and invaluable resource for fellow caregivers, has also been instrumental in the group’s continued growth and success.
These three have many years of experience juggling holiday stresses with the demands of caregiving, and have the wisdom of personal experience to share. Linda, Annette, and Robert shared their best advice for dementia caregivers about adapting holiday traditions:
Linda: Linda advises caregivers to take it easy on themselves, and not to hold themselves to too high a standard. They may want to preserve traditions from the past, and want their experience to be just like it’s always been, but sometimes that can create more stress. Linda encourages caregivers to live in the now, and focus on enjoying time with their loved one.
Annette: Annette has great tips for adapting holiday traditions to a person with dementia’s abilities. She enjoyed wrapping presents with her loved one: “I prepared pre-cut pieces of wrapping paper and ribbon or bows on a table with some tape, and with a few cues my loved one could wrap holiday packages. They were able to feel helpful and enjoy a fun holiday activity as long as it was appropriately set up.”
Another suggestion Annette shared is that people with dementia one might enjoy attending a holiday concert, but the crowds might be overwhelming for them. If you think that might be the case, you can usually attend a rehearsal for the concert, which will be much more manageable, but just as enjoyable for the person with dementia. If you do decide to attend an event, like a symphony concert or church service where there will be a lot of people, have someone coming with you take a separate car in case your loved one becomes agitated and needs to go home.”
Robert: Robert stresses the importance of creating a ‘new normal’ for the holidays. There are certain ways that families might have done things in the past, but that might not be the best way to do them now. “Expand your idea of a “new normal” even beyond your holidays,” he suggests, “and use it to adjust your expectations of daily life. ”
To attend one of the Wimberley group or another group in Central Texas, check out our list of affiliated support groups. Happy Holidays to everyone in the Wimberley Caregiver Support Group, and to all our readers![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]