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7 Ways You Can Ease Holiday Stress For Seniors With Dementia Or Hearing Impairment

November 23, 2020

Imagine your house full of people you love, endearing conversations being had between family members, loved ones yelling at the T.V.  because their favorite football team is on, and children chasing each other from room to room developing life-long friendships with their cousins. Sounds amazing, right?

Now imagine you are a Senior; hard of hearing, maybe with a Dementia diagnosis, trying to remember who these people are, attempting to remember “Why am I here again?”, “What are we celebrating?”. A family member asks you a question, and a well-meaning daughter or spouse answers for you, robbing you of the opportunity for a social connection.  The loud noises, numerous people, and bustling activities can be very overwhelming! The sentiment for this holiday can be much different than what was first described.

Holidays are joyous occasions but can also be overwhelming for someone with Dementia or even someone who is hard of hearing. Here are some suggestions to help create a welcoming atmosphere:

  1. Have a photo album labeled with names, and reminisce with them multiple times a day with 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.
  2. Incorporate your Senior in activities such as cooking. Have them sit at a table, and mix apples for the apple pie, or fold the napkin linens for the table.
  3. Have a room designated as a “quiet room”, where one-on-one conversations can be had without environmental distractions. This room is not meant to isolate a Senior, but to increase the social connection that is vital for their quality of life.
  4. Have a schedule ready to show them the events of the day so they are aware of what is next (this also helps you in organizing your day!).
  5. Have a craft activity where a Senior can assist a child in creating something to decorate the house. Children are so full of joy, its contagious!
  6. Practice Humanitude- this is a caregiving method that emphasizes eye contact, touch and verbal communication to convey respect.
  7. Make sure to give plenty of hugs and love, and to tell them how much you love them and appreciate them! Hearing how much you mean to someone and how much you are loved is important and necessary.

We often see loved ones do everything for their Senior, thinking they are doing best for them, but at times we are handicapping them. Taking away what they still can do for themselves, and creating dependency. Seniors, even those with Dementia, can still contribute to daily activities, but just with some modified adjustments.

About the Author:
Francesca Alonso
M.S. CCC-SLP, Geriatric Speech Language Pathologist, Administrator of Perfect Solutions for Seniors Homecare

Perfect Solutions for Seniors is a Private Duty Senior Home Care provider for seniors and individuals in need of assistance with daily living activities due to illness, injury or aging needs. Services are provided in-home as well as at hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.


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