Care for yourself

Consider your needs, as well as those of your loved one. To manage your expectations of yourself:

  • Pick and choose. Decide which holiday activities and traditions are most important, and focus on those you enjoy. Remember that you can't do it all.
  • Simplify. Bake fewer cookies. Buy fewer gifts. Don't feel pressured to display all of your holiday decorations or include a handwritten note with each holiday card. Ask others to provide portions of holiday meals.
  • Delegate. Remember family members and friends who've offered their assistance. Let them help with cleaning, addressing cards and shopping for gifts. Ask if one of your children or a close friend could stay with your loved one while you go to a holiday party.

Trust your instincts

As a caregiver, you know your loved one's abilities best. You also know what's most likely to agitate or upset your loved one. Resist pressure to celebrate the way others may expect you to. Remember, you can't control the progress of Alzheimer's or protect your loved one from all distress — but by planning and setting firm boundaries, you can avoid needless holiday stress and enjoy the warmth of the season.

Dec. 04, 2012 See more In-depth