The holiday season is often filled with lots of activities and visits with family and friends. It truly can be the most wonderful time of the year! This might not be the case for people with dementia and those who are their primary caregivers. Family members often don't know what to do and sometimes are shocked by the changes that have taken place since they last saw their relative.
However, by taking a few steps and recognizing that our loved ones with dementia need special accomodations, it's possible to create a lovely holiday for all! I've gathered helpful tips and information from various sites and have provided links, if you want further information, just ckick on the blue words to link through. So here goes:
- Consider sending a letter or email to family members, letting them know how your loved one is doing and what to expect when they see them.
- Early is best for gatherings. Energy levels tend to flag later in the day
- Create a quiet space, away from noise like television. Small group visits are best as it allows her or him to focus and follow the conversation. Slow your speech down and holding hands can work wonders!
- Because it takes longer for information to travel to and fro in the brain, be patient and give him or her a little extra time to respond during conversation.
- Well lit rooms and open doors are best in order to reduce confusion.
- Create a space for him or her to rest, if needed. It takes a lot of energy to focus and interact when a person has dementia.
- Have him or her participate in preparation. Something as simple as stirring the pudding or folding napkins can give them a sense of purpose and lighten their mood.
- If possible, make sure that their plate is a different color than the tablecloth. This makes it easier for them to discern where their food is.
- Last of all, please remember to spend quality time with the primary caregiver. They work very hard and can experience isolation. They need to see you too!
If you need further resources, feel free to schedule a "Book a Librarian" appointment.
I wish you all a lovely, dementia friendly holiday season,