The nearly 15 million Americans are caring for persons with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Summer vacation is a time to be enjoyed with family and friends, but for the 15 million people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, however, vacations and holidays can be conflicted, stressful and difficult. Many people are already balancing the responsibility of caregiving with everyday life and now have to change their routine significantly and worry about traveling, organizing and changing environments. The added pressure of a vacation or holiday can be very overwhelming.

Here a few coping strategies and guidelines for enjoying and surviving one’s summer vacation and other holidays throughout the year. Even though summer vacation may be a time for giving; don’t be ashamed to ask for more help from friends, family, and neighbors. It’s OK and important to take time for yourself. Make sure you eat properly and get enough sleep during the vacation or holiday season.

As always think about and expect an increase in such things as wandering, change in sleep issues and other concerns of caregiver oversight. Change is very difficult with a person with Alzheimer’s. Vacations and holidays can be over stimulating and change in routine can be difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Attempt to maintain your routine and be attentive to the impact of blinking lights, loud music, big crowds and other large family gatherings.

do your best to keep or adapt holiday family traditions that are important to you. Although it is challenging try to include the person with Alzheimer’s as much as possible. However, have realistic expectations about what they can do.

Encourage friends and family to visit. Limit the number of visitors at one time, and try to schedule visits during the time of day when the person is at his or her best. The holidays are a time for reflection and giving thanks.

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