The holidays can be a particularly challenging time for families with an older adult who has dementia. Not only can holidays be a difficult reminder of the memories the disease has taken from the senior, but people are busier, and the hustle and bustle of the celebrations can be confusing to the older adult. Still, you don’t want to leave your loved one out from the festivities. So, what can you do to make the holidays easier and help the older adult to enjoy them, too? Below are 5 of the best suggestions from experts around the Web for navigating the holidays with dementia.
#1: Consider Paring Down Traditions
Having increased responsibilities in terms of caregiving can make it impossible for families to do everything the way they used to. You simply may not have the time for all your old traditions. To make things less stressful and keep your aging relative involved, ask them which traditions are most important to them. If what they love most is serving a big family dinner but aren’t as interested in putting up all the lights outside of the house, you could forego the outside decorations and focus instead on ways to make the family dinner a wonderful event.
#2: Prepare Visitors
Family members and friends from far away may be stopping in to visit. They may not have seen the older adult for a while, so the changes in their health and cognitive abilities might be upsetting for them. They also may be uncertain of how to interact with the senior. To avoid awkward and unpleasant situations, let visitors know ahead of time what to expect. Give them some tips for how to talk to the senior.
#3: Simplify Activities to Allow for Involvement
Look for ways you can break down holiday activities and preparations to make it possible for the older adult to participate. Perhaps the senior cannot make cookies on their own, but they could bake with the help of a caregiver. The senior might just mix the ingredients you put in the bowl or put frosting on the rollout cookies. Other tasks can be simplified as well. When wrapping gifts, you might let the senior choose the paper and hold it down while you apply tape.
#4: Have a Quiet Room Available
Despite your best attempts, it is still possible that some of the activities will be too confusing and upsetting for the older adult. It’s a good idea to have a room of the house that is undecorated and will be a quiet place for the older adult to go and sit if they need a break. One person at a time could sit with them to keep them company and still allow them to visit with others without overwhelming them.
#5: Use Elder Care
Elder care providers can be scheduled to help with your aging relative through the holiday season. An elder care provider can even attend gatherings with the senior to assist them while family caregivers enjoy their time with family and friends. Prior to the holidays, elder care providers can do holiday-themed activities and preparations with the older adult to help them stay involved and make the season a little jollier for them.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Potomac, MD please contact the caring staff at Nest & Care today at (240) 226-3310.