Great Tips for Holidays and Dementia

Whether your loved one is in the advanced stages of dementia or just recently diagnosed with a form of it, all the moving parts and preparation of the holidays can be taxing if you don’t plan ahead.  To help you enjoy the holidays and this time together, we believe there are some very beneficial tips that can help out your loved one, your family, and you.

A New Normal

While you can and should still keep the holiday spirit going by continuing to celebrate, there are some considerations to keep in mind.  For a person living with dementia, blinking lights can at times be scary or confusing.  These lights can already be disorienting for those living without dementia but even more so for those who are.  Another tip is for avoiding confusion in edibility.  This means not decorating with items that can be mistaken for food.  Lastly, if your holiday plans include traveling or many outings, plan rests and breaks for the whole family to prevent over stimulation.

Minimizing Stimulation

Speaking of over stimulation all that comes with the holidays such as shopping, decorating, cooking, traveling, and family gatherings, the holidays can already be overwhelming for someone with top notch health.  This said, minimizing stimulation of a loved one with dementia will help ease navigating through the holidays.  If you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed, do your best not to share this with your loved one.  In the case of this, lean on your support system to try to share any tasks or caregiving.  

Consider Guests & Activities 

If you are hosting or have a say in the guests that will be coming over, be selective about who will be allowed to visit.  Meaning, it may be better to not have pets and young children visit who may be louder or more energetic than other guests.  Alternatively, you can have guests over in waves to not have so many over at once.  As for activities for everyone to partake in, choose those that are accessible and engaging to not overwhelm them or put them in a situation where they feel left out.

Take Care of Yourself

Whether it's the holidays or any other time of year, it is always good to remember to take care of yourself too.  This can look like accepting assistance from visitors, welcoming others' advice, scaling back on tasks, or delegating home needs to others.  Remember that it’s the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year, and we all deserve to relax for a bit.