Holiday Outings can be very pleasant but “ShiT” Happens
With Thanksgiving turkey and dressing packed in Tupperware containers, and the dishes washed and put away, I’d say we’ve just entered the holiday season –I’m old school. I refuse to believe in the Christmas Creep where our Inboxes are inundated with Christmas sales before the Halloween trick-or-treating has even begun.
As a kid, December was exciting and long and filled with Christmas celebrating at home, school and at church.
For the dementia sufferer, the holiday season can seem like a blur of high-pitched music, bright lights, glitter and too much cheerfulness. It’s not uncommon for those dealing with memory issues to exhibit drastic mood swings from happy to sad to even anger. If you aren’t familiar with common symptoms of the disease, you better brush up…
Visiting someone, a beloved family member who has Alzheimer’s this holiday season? A few words of advice before you go.
Plan ahead and be patient –Think you’re gonna zip by, scoop up Auntie Lucie and take her out for an afternoon of shopping and drinks like you did back in the day? Think again. It ain’t that simple. Dropping in, unannounced on an Alzheimer’s patient might not produce the positive results you’re hoping for. Surprise visits can upset and confuse your loved one.
If lunch arrangements are made in advance, remember to bring an extra dose of patience. Preparing for an outing is a major production for the dementia patient. They move at their own turtle-slow pace. Trying to rush them to adhere to a schedule only guarantees an unpleasant exchange where you are the one feeling like a big heel for wanting to get to the restaurant by 2:00 before lunch menus close.
Shit happens. And I mean both literally and figuratively. Momma’s in Depends. And those suckers don’t just change by themselves when nature calls. Oh no! Make sure there is a restroom break before the outing begins. Keep in mind, just because she went before her lunch date doesn’t guarantee she won’t have to go again. Aging seniors don’t have the control they used to. In addition, medications, medical conditions increase the odds of unexpected accidents.
You gotta think ahead. And no disrespect here, but put on the mindset you would when babysitting you’re 18 month old toddler and pack a diaper bag.
Items to include in #Mommasdependsbag
- Depends undergarments – pack several just in case you’re outing lasts longer than expected.
- Baby wipes –Preferably adult baby wipes (larger and more sturdy)
- Clorox Wipes – for disinfecting NOT to use on skin
- Waterless hand sanitizer
- Plastic bags – for soiled clothes
- Change of clothes
- Medication bag – the older seniors get the more likely they are to already have a meds bag packed. They don’t want to be caught out without missing their scripts.
- Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc
- Extra jacket or sweater.
- Bottled water
- Snacks for you and her
- Extra blanket
- Book, newspaper, crossword puzzles
With a little thought, preparation and patience, your good intentions of taking your loved one out for a holiday meal can be a pleasant one that you’ll cherish when they are no longer around to say, “Happy Holidays,” in person.