The holidays are time for friends and family to come together and celebrate. But it can be a difficult time for those who are suffering with dementia. With some preparation and adjusting, those with dementia can still have a happy holiday season with loved ones.
Always check in with those who have dementia
It is a good idea to check in with those who have dementia often, especially around the holidays. Ask how they are doing and what they are looking forward to during the season. If your loved one is suffering from the early stages of dementia, they might be seeing minor changes which includes feeling uncomfortable socializing and wanting to withdraw. Be open with them and discuss the options to prepare them for the right festivities for them. If your loved one is suffering in the middle or late stages of dementia, really consider what is best for them when it comes to celebrating the holidays and rethink how you can adjust things to accommodate them.
Be open with friends and family
Always let friends and family who are coming to celebrate the holidays that a family member is showing signs of dementia. If they are in the early stages, their changes might not be very noticeable. They may have problems communicating as they may seem confused or repeat themselves. This is where communication and preparation can be key. When conversing with someone with dementia, be patient, try not to correct or interrupt them and give them time to finish their thought. There will be more noticeable changes if your loved one is in the middle or late stages of dementia. These changes are often cognitive abilities and this can be hard for loved ones and friend to accept. Be comforting to those who are struggling and provide them with the right resources.
Really involve the person with dementia
Try to get the person suffering with dementia involved in holiday activities and building on traditions that are meaningful to them. Focusing on these traditions and activities can really be a great thing to someone who has dementia. You can do things like sing holiday songs, watch holiday movies and even reminisce by looking at photo albums. It is also good to try to involve your loved one with prepping for the holidays by helping with wrapping gifts, decorating or even helping with the food. Still try to stick to a routine during the busy holiday season, with plenty of rest and breaks.
Get involved with the care facility your loved one is in
If your loved one with dementia is living in a care facility, you can still bring the holiday cheer to them! Consider joining in on the fun and attending the facility’s holiday activities and bring along food and decorations for all to share. You can also get involved with other residents by singing holiday carols and sharing holiday stories.
Even though the holidays can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for those with dementia or those caring for them. But with the right planning and making some adjustments, the holidays can be a time to celebrate and spread cheer to all!
By reading this blog, I acknowledge that I am not creating or entering a clinical or medical relationship with Dr. DenBoer and SMART Brain Aging. I understand that all materiel included in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only. The content is to provide me with information and knowledge and I will not substitute it for diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. I am aware the author does not hold a medical degree or license and is simply providing me additional information on a variety of health topics.