Preparation and Planning Tips for Caregivers
The idea of going away for a vacation is generally appealing but it can give rise to particular concerns for the caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's Disease. But it's not only the emotions of caregivers that are can cause concern. Here's how to prepare for your vacation.
Thinking ahead on holiday breaks and Alzheimer's disease
Long and short breaks are increasingly common. Breaks may be quiet and relaxing or they may be big family affairs. The longer the break and the more people there are involved can be either an asset or a liability. A little thought and planning needs to be exercised.
Preparing for vacation Alzheimer's tipsIf you plan to visit a new place, do some homework in advance. Find out about the accommodation, where the nearest healthcare facilities are and what the big differences to home might be e.g. levels of traffic.
Keep in mind that relatives may not understand the changes that have occured in the person you are caring for. You may need to speak to them in advance and point out what these changes are. For example, "Joe still loves making models but he sometimes gets frustrated and shouts a bit when he can't figure things out"
Warn people about unsafe gifts
If wandering might be a problem ask the person you are caring for to wear an identity bracelet. It's a good idea to establish this as a routine before you go away.
If staying in a hotel consider whether it is useful to notify reception staff. This is really a matter of choice and might not be necessary unless you are very concerned about a wandering or frail person in your care.
People staying over on vacationStick to routine as much as possible. Last minute preparations lead to tensions, anxiety and confusion.
Introduce and help remind the person of friends and relatives by getting out photographs or video's and gently going over the old memories.
When relatives and friends arrive things can get quite noisy and busy. If you have some regular support in the form of a trusted friend, relative or neighbor this would be a good time to ask them to be around so you can meet and greet without worrying what's happening elsewhere.
If the event involves gift giving. Involve the person from the start. They can maybe help in the choice of present, its wrapping and/or simply passing the gifts around to watch the faces light up.
Try to keep the person involved at some social level but be wary of things that might challenge, embarrass or frustrate them. Crossword puzzles, difficult or lengthy board games, using electric gadgets are some of the things that may need to be avoided. If just one or two people can back away from the activity and do something else it helps relieve the tension and doesn't pour cold water on all the proceedings.
Keep an eye out for small changes that could cause confusion - dimming the lights over dinner for example; they may just need to be put up while the person leaves the table.
You might be at a point where it is simply easier to stay in familiar surroundings. Preparing for friends and relatives staying over requires a little thought too and some of the tips mentioned previously still apply. In these circumstances it is wise to:
You and Your Loved One on holiday
vacations can be an emotional time for everyone. Happiness and loss can be experienced in almost equal measure by both the caregiver and the person in their care. With a little preparation pre and post vacation there is no reason why your vacation shouldn't work out well.