The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for caregivers of a loved one with dementia. If you have a loved one with dementia, here are a few helpful tips for having a joyful holiday season.
1. Designate a quiet place. Holiday meals may last for several hours and the gathering of people may be disorienting and overwhelming to a person with dementia. A designated space can provide a needed break for the person to rest and remain calm.
2. Plan around the everyday schedule. Changes in routine can be confusing and add stress to your loved one’s holiday. If possible, keep mealtimes and bedtimes consistent.
3. Incorporate old traditions in new ways. Traditions are important to many people, not just the person living with dementia. Find creative ways to incorporate traditions that allow everyone to participate.
4. Talk to guests in advance. Let your family and friends know what to expect now that your loved one is living with dementia. Make sure everyone knows the schedule, new changes to the holiday routine, the quiet place, and any ground rules for the holiday.
5. Encourage practical gifts. Care needs can escalate quickly when someone is living with dementia. Practical gifts, such as bathroom safety items, can help keep your loved one age in place. New estate plans that account for your loved one’s disability also make great gifts and give a priceless benefit to your family.
We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!