The holiday season is a time when people feel happy and spend time together. But for those who have dementia and their caregivers, it can be tough. The busy and noisy holiday season can make dementia symptoms worse. Here are eight dementia-friendly holiday tips for caregivers and loved ones:
- Stick to Their Usual Schedule: Keep your loved one’s daily routine as normal as possible. For example, have meals, go to bed, and take medications at their regularly scheduled times. Additionally, plan holiday activities when they are most comfortable and active.
- Make the Environment Dementia-Friendly: Avoid too many decorations, lights, and loud music. Use simple and familiar decorations to make the place feel cozy. Finally, keep the lights soft and use familiar, soothing music.
- Have Quiet, One-on-One Time: Holiday gatherings can be noisy and busy. Therefore, find some quiet time to spend one-on-one with your loved one with dementia. Do things they enjoy, like talking about the past, looking at photos, taking a gentle walk, or watching their favorite movie.
- Involve Them in Holiday Preparations: People like to help and feel useful, so include your loved one in getting ready for the holidays. They can help with simple tasks like setting the table, wrapping gifts, or making cookies.
- Explain Their Condition to Guests: Tell your guests about your loved one’s dementia. Give them tips on how to talk and interact with them. Ask guests to be patient, and understanding, and not to ask difficult questions.
- Watch Out for Their Well-Being: Keep an eye on how your loved one is feeling during the holidays. Make sure they drink enough water, don’t get overwhelmed, and aren’t too tired. Be attentive to signs that they need a break and provide a quiet, comfortable space for them.
- Be Flexible and Ready to Change Plans: Dementia is unpredictable, and your loved one’s needs can change quickly. Be willing to adjust your plans to make them comfortable. This might mean leaving a gathering earlier than planned or taking breaks from the holiday noise.
- Get Support and Take Breaks: Taking care of someone with dementia during the holidays can be tough on you too. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make time to enjoy things with friends and loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from support groups, friends, or family. Consider getting a break by using respite care services.
By thinking carefully and focusing on these eight dementia-friendly holiday tips for caregivers and loved ones, you can make the holiday season enjoyable for people with dementia and their families. Keeping their routines, creating a cozy environment, and giving love and support will help both you and your loved one with dementia have a wonderful holiday season.