Celebrating the holidays with family members who have dementia can be both challenging and enjoyable. While this time of year can be busy, stressful, and full of expectations, honoring family traditions can help a loved one with dementia experience a sense of belonging by immersing them in positive memories. Remember, spending time requires mindful adjustments and reworking by balancing time between activities and quite time.
Other helpful tips about organizing celebrations include:
- Plan ahead but also be flexible. If something goes wrong, find a way to alleviate the situation instead of attempting to push the agenda. Remember not to plan too many holiday activities in one day, or even during one week.
- Involve them in activities, such as decorating the tree and home, wrapping presents, and baking cookies. These activities can help them avoid feeling stressed. Use ribbon or yarn instead of sharp hooks to hang ornaments.
- When family and friends arrive, it’s best to reacquaint the person with dementia by talking about them, showing photos or videos. Even consider using name tags to help them remember or at least familiarize themselves.
- Host your gatherings during the late mornings or early afternoon when energy is at its best.
- Play family holiday music, but not too loudly, so your loved one will be able to focus on having conversations.
- Remember, sometimes activities are not necessary. Spending quality, quiet time with your loved one can be beneficial for everyone.
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