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The Holidays and Dementia Care

January 6, 2020

5 Tips to Make the Holidays More Enjoyable for a Loved One with Dementia

The winter holidays are almost here, and with them comes all the hustle and bustle of family events, shopping for gifts, and decorating your home. But how will the holidays affect your loved one with dementia? Unfamiliar changes can be difficult for a person with memory loss, but the tips below can help ensure that the holidays are enjoyable for both you and your loved one.

Preparing for Guests

To help your loved one not feel overwhelmed, you may want to plan a smaller gathering. You can further apply this by providing a quiet place for your loved one during the get-together, either to rest alone or to visit with guests one-on-one. You can also prepare your guests by giving them an update of your loved one’s condition related to memory and behavior. Guests may also need suggestions for how to best relate to your loved one.

Including your Loved One

Your loved one will enjoy feeling included in holiday preparations, and you can accommodate for their skill level. Include them in conversations; the holidays are a great time to reminisce, which can be especially helpful for those with dementia. They can also help with simple activities like decorating cookies or stuffing holiday cards.

Providing Meaning and Memories

Find ways to include past memories in your holiday season this year. These may already be a part of your family tradition, but will be especially meaningful to your loved one. You could look at photo albums, play favorite holiday music, watch a special holiday movie, or read a traditional holiday story together.

Decorating your Home

Changing the layout of a room with holiday decorations may be distressing for someone with dementia. You may need to reduce the amount of decorations so as not to cause confusion for your loved one, especially those with blinking lights or excessive clutter. You will also want to take a look at your decorations from a safety perspective. Maybe this is the year for a small tabletop tree or more decorations outside rather than inside.

Celebrating Together

If you are celebrating with your loved one at a care facility this year, there are many ways that you can bring holiday cheer. Visitors will be welcomed, especially to reminisce, but you may want to set a schedule for one-on-one time or just a few family members per day.

At Story Cottage, private rooms are provided to share meals or host gatherings with your loved one. Story Cottage also hosts planned activities for residents with the smallest patient-to-caregiver ratio in the city (4:1). These activities are a great way to spend time celebrating the holidays while still allowing your loved one to remain in their familiar setting.

At our Story Cottage locations in Indianapolis and Carmel, we looks forward to celebrating the holidays with you and your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about our unique residence!

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