Hi everyone, I've been thinking about what a trial holidays can become when you are someone's carer. This applies especially if the one you care for no longer has enough cognition to know about celebrations and their meanings.
It can also be very isolating. Not everyone understands how to engage with someone with reduced cognition and may even try to avoid contact when you take the plunge and ask them to join you.
Your loved one may not react well to the extra people around or changes in their daily routine, so navigating the Christmas period can be tricky.
First, I think it's important to consider your own needs. Christmas can be an emotional time and there aren't many feasts at which the 'ghost of Christmas past' doesn't come calling, to remind you of happier times, and if you are alone save the one you care for, it's easy to feel down and depressed. I think the 25th December needs a little forward planning, even if you claim that you are fine on your own and you 'aren't making a fuss'.
See what you can do to make your day pleasanter. At least arrange a phone call or two, if no-one's going to be with you. Maybe buy that thing which you've been hankering after, as a gift from you to you, as well as a gift for the one you care for. And maybe mark out some interesting TV programs, start a new book or do some puzzles when you do eventually get a little time to yourself. Or set yourself a tea-tray and slice of cake to really sit and savour. And please make sure you do get a little time for yourself! If you enjoy a drink, then why not indulge in one or two to sip through the day. Of course you need a fairly clear head, but a social drink is perfectly OK.
For most, he ideal would be to see some other people, even for short periods, especially family, if you can. (Of course, with covid19 still banging on our doors, you must consider what risk that will pose to you both, and maybe make sure that everyone concerned takes a lateral flow test for several days beforehand).
It's vital that anyone who comes, does understand what's going on with your cared-for, as too much noise and fuss can cause meltdowns. Make sure there's an escape route to a quieter room for a while.
I'd also say to think long and hard if you've had an invitation to visit someone else as if it all becomes too much in someone else's home it's harder to extricate yourself from the situation.
Remember that Christmas is only one day, and it's actually pretty soon over. I can remember a couple of Christmases when I just breathed a sigh of relief that I'd got through the day. And even if it goes really well, the likelihood is that, if your cared-for has dementia, they may remember little of the day afterwards.
Photo: Unsplash, Andrea Radu