Dementia: Tips to Make the Holidays Meaningful


The holiday season is rapidly approaching. This is the time of year for families and friends to celebrate and share joy and happiness. But for families coping with Dementia or Alzheimer's, the holidays can be a time of inundated stress and frustration. Holiday festivities can confuse, overwhelm and over stimulate someone with Dementia. People with cognitive impairment are still capable of having fun they are just extremely forgetful. Finding activities that can retrieve happy memories, keeping things simple and slow paced are important steps to a meaningful holiday.


More Tips to Follow:

  • Plan events earlier in the day to avoid night time confusion.

  • Do activities together things your loved one is capable of participating in such as; decorating cookies, taking a walk, putting out decorations or wrapping gifts together.

  • Maintain a regular routine to avoid disruption and confusion.

  • Schedule breaks and rest periods in a quite area.

  • Focus on things that have meaning such as; singing favorite carols, reading stories or scripture, looking through photo albums or magazines.

  • Music can be soothing for people with Dementia but with meal preparation and conversation from added guest a calm and quiet environment is usually best. Keep music as a soft back ground playing familiar tunes.

  • Plan to serve food items that are easy to eat and foods they enjoy most.

  • Blinking lights and large displays can cause disorientation. Avoid using candles, artificial fruits/vegetables, or other edibles as decorations.

  • Schedule the holiday events in the most familiar setting to reduce the anxiety.

  • Encourage family and friends to give useful gifts such as comfortable clothing, C.D.'s of favorite music/movies and gifts that might have special meaning from childhood and young adulthood.

Most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the season and to take care of yourself! Ask for support from family or friends to keep the person afflicted with Dementia company so you can take the time to focus on your well being. Remember, it's not selfish and you shouldn't feel guilty! Find ways to de-stress and enjoy the magical time of year.


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