There are several ways in which caregivers and loved ones can make it easier for those with dementia to enjoy the holidays. From celebrating in a familiar setting to redefining traditions to keeping the decorations to a minimum, heed these tips for making the holidays as stress-free for your loved one with dementia as possible as they remain at home.
Remember, large crowds and noises can be frightening for elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. On top of that, they may feel frustrated that they can’t participate in the festivities like they used to. As a caregiver, you’re likely stressed out over the holidays, as well, thinking about how you should celebrate them in this new reality, in which sibling’s home, and how your loved one can be best accommodated.
Luckily, in-home support services by qualified caregivers like those at Divine Living Assistance can ease the burden on families. Not only can they help your loved one feel as comfortable as possible in the days and weeks leading up to holiday parties, but they also offer memory services.
Adapt Holiday Activities
It may be necessary to make adjustments to your holiday celebrations. Here are some tips to accommodate your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
- Plan meaningful activities. Read a favorite holiday story aloud, flip through old photo albums, watch a favorite holiday movie together or sing carols, suggests the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Hold small gatherings. Rather than throw one big party, break them into smaller ones so that celebrations are more relaxed and quiet.
- Minimize visitor traffic: Arrange for a few family members to come by on different days, as a large group could be overwhelming.
- Prepare food, cards and decorations together. Decorate cookies, open holiday cards and craft simple decorations together. It’s important to focus on the task and not necessarily the outcome.
- Provide a quiet space. Make sure there is a quiet place for the person with dementia to go when they need to spend time alone. Gatherings become overwhelming very quickly with dementia sufferers; having a safe space to retreat to at a moment’s notice is critical to avoid a meltdown.
- Plan accordingly. Plan the gathering for the best time of day for your loved one. For instance, it’s better to have a low-key party at lunch or mid-day rather than in the late afternoon or evening when the person with dementia may be sundowning.
Ensure a Safe, Calm Space
Create an appropriate environment during the holidays for your loved one. Check out these tips:
- Play their favorite music. Familiar holiday music is relaxing and comforting to the person with dementia. Keep the volume down so the loud sounds don’t distress them.
- Keep decorations to a minimum. Steer clear of blinking lights or large decorative displays that can cause confusion, as well as decorations that clutter a room or require you to rearrange a familiar room, points out the Mayo Clinic.
- Avoid safety hazards. Don’t use burning candles; use electronic ones instead. If you do decide to light real candles, don’t leave them unattended. Avoid putting out fragile decorations or those that could be mistaken for food, such as a bowl of artificial fruits.
Contact Divine Living Assistance
Here at Divine Living Assistance, our caregivers are trained in dementia and Alzheimer’s care to ensure your loved one remains safe and comfortable in their own home. From medication reminders to mind-stimulating activities, we will support your loved one and the entire family. To learn more, contact us at 903-215-8283 or 254-694-8614.