Feasting: While this can still be a part of the agenda, consider changes in the kinds of food and the times it is eaten. Holiday food tends to be filled with simple carbohydrates (sugars, high fructose corn syrup and white sugar). It is becoming clear that these foods are not supportive of good health in general, and especially not of good cognition. Don't forgo these traditional foods entirely.
- Just use smaller helpings and resist seconds.
- Then balance them with other more healthy foods that are also traditional, like fresh fruit, nuts, and winter vegetables like squash.
- Administer medication away from meal time, with a small amount of food to avoid nausea.
- Consider serving fish like cod or salmon, and using omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil instead of saturated fats whenever you can. The omega-3s digest easily and fish digests in about half the time as it takes for other proteins.
- Diffuse some soothing lavender or rosemary into the air.
- Practice deep breathing or add some soothing massage sessions, for you and your loved one.
- Ask family members and visitors to focus on pleasant subjects and avoid anything that could lead to arguments.
- Think ahead and find ways to adapt. Thinking ahead can make all the difference where fun is considered.
- Instead of the traditional gathering and big meal at your house, consider ordering prepared meal or sharing the responsibilities with other family members. (Having it at your house is still a good idea because your loved one will be most comfortable there. Just make sure there is a quiet place somewhere for when things become too confusing.)
- If you are used to doing something challenging after the meal, like board games, or distracting like watching an exciting game on TV, consider something else, such as reviewing old family photo albums.
- Review your expectations and make them realistic, given your present situation.
- Get adequate rest. Take a nap when your loved one does!
- Limit your activities to what you know you can tolerate.
- Be willing to reach out and ask for help.
- Look for the little things to enjoy.
- Consciously think of the things that you are grateful for.
- Hug, smile and laugh. Enjoy!
For information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors. As informed caregivers, they share the information here foreducational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a physician's advice.