The holidays are coming, and many families are looking forward to spending time together over meals and gifts. But, for families affected by dementia, the holidays can bring an added level of stress. Family traditions can still be meaningful, but they may also be a source of anxiety and frustration for a person with dementia. With some preparation, you can still have a wonderful holiday season, filled with new memories and happy times.
Below are some tips for helping you celebrate the holidays when a family member has dementia.
Keep Others Informed
The holidays often bring visits from family and friends that the older adult may see only a few times per year. When a person has dementia, a lot can change over the course of those months apart. Let potential visitors know what they can expect when they come to see the senior. Tell them how the person is doing and the best ways to communicate. Also, make sure they understand that the changes they may notice are because of the disease, and not the person. It may be easier for you to communicate these things in an email that can be sent to many people at one time, or in a letter that you can mail to multiple people.
Hold Celebrations Earlier in the Day
If the person experiences more anxiety or agitation later in the day, consider having a holiday lunch earlier in the day instead of a dinner. Often people with dementia are more alert in the earlier hours and able to handle more activity.
Include the Older Adult
Try to involve the person in holiday preparations as much as possible. If they are able, have them help you decorate the tree or wrap presents. You can keep their involvement as easy as handing you ornaments or picking the paper to wrap each present in. Look for holiday activities they enjoy, like singing familiar holiday songs or watching favorite holiday movies.
Prepare for Visitors
Before people arrive for the celebration, take time to sit down with the older adult and talk to them about what will be happening and who will be there. It can be helpful to show them pictures of the guests. Plan to do familiar activities and serve familiar foods. Also, have a quiet room available that the person can retreat to if the hustle and bustle gets too overwhelming.
As the holidays approach, a homecare provider can help make them meaningful and fun for an older adult with dementia. A homecare provider can do holiday-themed activities with the person, like baking cookies, making crafts, or sending cards. Homecare providers can also help to keep the senior on their regular schedule while you attend to other holiday activities and responsibilities.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.