The limitations associated with the COVID pandemic impacted last year’s holiday season, forcing many people to remain isolated from each other. Thankfully, this season families are able to embrace the opportunity to safely gather together once more for holiday activities. While decking the halls and getting ready for visits with loved ones, it’s important to add modifications to ensure a loved one with dementia can also enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
Smaller is better.
Staggering visits and including fewer individuals at a time instead of one large event with the whole family will most likely be easier for the older adult to deal with. Overstimulation, excessive noise, and breaking from routine may cause irritation and agitation.
Timing is essential.
Be aware of the older adult’s moods throughout a typical day. Is the senior more alert, engaged, and content in the mornings, or later in the afternoon? To the degree it’s possible, plan gatherings around that time of day – regardless of whether this means breaking a family tradition. A holiday breakfast could be more pleasurable for the older adult than an evening party, for instance.
Personal space is crucial.
Search for a quiet room away from the hustle and bustle of family and friends, and help the older adult retreat to that spot if required. Watch out for early warning signs that the senior is feeling stressed, and have a couple of relaxing activities at the ready, like soft music to listen to, a photo album for reminiscing, or even a nap.
Activities require pre-planning.
Prior to the get-together, make a list of things the older adult particularly likes and responds to, and brainstorm activities that incorporate those ideas. A senior who loves music (as many with dementia do) may like listening to a grandchild play traditional holiday songs on the piano while the family sings along. For somebody who has always loved cooking, encourage him or her to participate in rolling out pie crust or decorating cookies.
Keep an eye on the senior’s tolerance for holiday visiting. There’s nothing wrong with cutting a celebration short when it’s in the older adult’s best interest.
Likewise, keep your own needs in mind. Taking care of a loved one with dementia isn’t easy, and adding in the additional aspects involved with the holiday season can bring extra tension to family caregivers as well.
Anthem Home Care, experts in home care in Ingleside, TX and nearby areas, provides in-home respite care services that allow family caregivers to take time for themselves. We are here whenever you need a break, including at family functions like holiday parties. Let one of our skilled dementia care staff provide companionship for a senior with dementia, guaranteeing all of his or her needs are met throughout the event and allowing you to relax and fully enjoy family time.