Holiday Celebrations with Dementia: Keep It Simple

For families who have a relative with dementia, holiday get-togethers often prompt a new way of celebrating.  The key to a positive holiday experience is to simplify the tradition.

The noise, visual stimulation and excitement that celebrations bring may have been enjoyable for your relative in the past, but can be disorienting or agitating now.  Consider hosting a small gathering, tone down your decorations and try to focus on one task at a time.  Involve her in activities that she can be successful with, such as setting the table or singing carols.

Make sure that a caregiver is present at the event.  It is important to ensure that someone is looking out for her and it is difficult, as well as stressful, to both entertain and be the caregiver.

If your relative lives in an Alzheimer’s community, it may be more comfortable to visit her there.  Maintaining your loved one’s routine and sense of familiarity will help everyone enjoy being together.

Regardless of where you gather, be sure to celebrate one another.  Reminiscing is a wonderful way to share a moment with your loved one. Also, it is an activity that the entire family can participate in, regardless of their age.

By making some adjustments to holiday traditions, you and your family can enjoy the season and create special memories together.

Seabury Care Management offers care planning and counseling to help older adults and their families manage the health and lifestyle challenges associated with aging.

Featured Image: Flickr @bradleypjohnson

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