The restrictions associated with the COVID pandemic impacted last year’s holidays, forcing many families to remain isolated from one another. Fortunately, this season families are able to embrace the chance to safely get together once more. While decking the halls and getting ready for visits with loved ones, it’s important to provide modifications to holiday activities for those with dementia to ensure loved ones will enjoy the season to the fullest too.
These tips from our Topeka senior care experts are a good place to start:
Less is more.
Staggering visits and inviting fewer people at a time instead of one large get-together with the entire family will probably be easier for the senior to deal with. Overstimulation, excessive noise, and breaking from routine can result in irritation and anxiety.
Timing is essential.
Pay close attention to the person’s emotional behavior throughout a normal day. Is the person more alert, engaged, and content in the early mornings, or later in the evening? To the degree you can, plan gatherings around that time of day – even if it means breaking a family tradition. A holiday breakfast could be more fun for the senior than an evening party, for instance.
Personal space is essential.
Look for a quiet room away from the busyness of friends and family, and help the individual retreat to that spot when necessary. Watch for early indicators that the senior is feeling stressed, and have a couple of relaxing activities at the ready, such as soft music to enjoy, a photograph album for reminiscing, or even a nap.
Activities should be pre-planned.
Ahead of the get-together, assemble a list of activities or topics the older adult particularly enjoys and responds to, and brainstorm activities that include those ideas. A senior who likes music (as many with dementia do) might enjoy listening to a grandchild play traditional holiday songs on the piano while everybody sings along. Somebody who has always liked baking can participate in rolling out pie crust or mixing cookie dough.
Bear in mind the senior’s patience for holiday visiting. There’s nothing wrong with cutting a celebration short when it’s in the best interest of a loved one.
Likewise, keep your own needs in mind. Caring for a family member with dementia isn’t easy, and adding in the extra aspects associated with the holiday season can bring about extra strain to family caregivers as well.
Grace Home Care’s senior care experts in Topeka offer in-home respite care services that enable family caregivers to take time for themselves . We are here whenever you need a break, including at family gatherings such as holiday parties. Let one of our skilled dementia care staff serve as a companion for a loved one with dementia, making sure all of his or her needs are met throughout the event and letting you relax and fully enjoy family time.