The holidays are a time to get together with loved ones. We love coming together over food and drink to celebrate. It gives us something to look forward to, plan for, celebrate our loved ones, and express gratitude. For some, the holidays break up the monotony of everyday life, and end the year on a high note, BUT for those who suffer from dementia, the monotony of everyday life is crucial. They thrive on routine, and breaking up their routine can be very overwhelming. Below are five tips to host a happy holiday celebration that is inclusive of your loved ones who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Do a quick soundcheck. Is the TV blaring with the Macy’s Day Parade? Is Music blaring, are relatives shouting to be heard? TURN IT DOWN. All of it. Put on some soft holiday tunes instead, and promote a calm, zen environment among your guests.
- Create a safe space. Set up a designated space for your relative with dementia to sit, eat, and hang. Make sure to have others near, so your relative won’t feel isolated, but make sure they feel safe and secure in their spot. Have other family members come to visit with them, rather than expecting them to move around.
- Have a photo album near. If you can label the album with names, and reminisce with them. Ask different family members who can offer different perspectives of the same story. Do not “quiz” them, but instead let the stories and memories come as they may.
- Serve familiar, easy-to-swallow foods. Make sure to have food that your family member with dementia can enjoy. Often as the disease progresses, swallowing can be difficult. Make sure to have some softer foods, like mashed potatoes or creamed corn on hand.
- Relax, and enjoy your family. Often hosts get caught up in making everything perfect, they forget to actually enjoy the day. People are receptive to the energy the host puts out and will meet that energy, whether they realize it or not. If you take a moment to settle down, be present, your company will replicate that and your family member with dementia will benefit from the calm, safe space you created.
We hope you and your family have an awesome holiday season! If you have a loved one with dementia, we’re here to help. Sunways Senior Living Concierge is a FREE concierge service for seniors and their caregivers to compare care options and locate resources to help along the way. Check out our website for more free resources or to set up a call with us to see how we can help!