The holidays often include changes to scheduled routines, extra commitments, and festive events. Though most of these adaptations are fun and engaging, they can sometimes be stressful and/or confusing to those living with Alzheimer’s and like forms of dementia. With some advance planning and mindfulness, caregivers can help ensure a happy and enjoyable holiday season for their loved ones with memory care considerations.
There are several common-sense tips to help make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable for loved ones with dementia. Having a routine is helpful and sticking to your loved one’s predictable schedule as much as possible during the sometimes, hectic holiday season will ease their stress level. For example, plan holiday mealtimes in accordance with the schedule your loved one is used to. If events are running late into the evening, it may be beneficial to designate someone to assist your loved one in getting home and to bed at their accustomed time. If your loved one has had a long-standing tradition, such as making a favorite dish, try to honor that tradition by offering assistance as needed to include them in the festivities.
Also keep in mind that the increased stimulation of holiday sights and sounds can be overwhelming at times. Lights, crowds, and music may trigger a moment of upset and your loved one may need a break from festivities. In addition, those with dementia may have complications that put them at greater risk of COVID, it’s important to provide excellent infection control at home and when going out, including hand washing and mask wearing. In some cases, it may be best to limit compromised loved ones from public interactions.
By being intentional in our planning and by being sensitive to the changing needs of our loved ones, the holidays can still be an enjoyable and inclusive time for everyone in our lives. Check out the video by ASC and Fox News on Memory Care Tips for the Holiday’s, featured within this blog. For more information about memory care at American Senior Communities, please visit ASCCare.com/mc.