Holidays are jam packed with love and excitement. If you will be spending the holidays with a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that your holiday is both comfortable and full of joy. We thought we’d share some ideas for you to use that increase the well-being and quality of life for our Residents and Clients around the holidays. These ideas are not exclusive to people living with dementia, they can be great ideas for everyone to use to enhance their holiday:
The holidays are a special time for many people. Engaging in a calm, relaxing conversation about holidays past is a great source of joy that has been proven to be a great activity and use of time for our Residents and Clients. There is so much to appreciate and learn from our loved ones with more life experience than we have. Take some time to put the chaos of the day aside and relax and enjoy the company and memories of your loved ones. Share some of your own memories to begin the conversation.
Helpful Communication Reminders:
- Do: “I remember when…”
- Don’t: “Mom, don’t you remember when…?”
Engage In Activities
Has Mom always made her signature dessert every year? Is Dad the one to make the delicious, mouth-watering stuffing that everyone loves? Was it a tradition to build a gingerbread house together on Christmas Eve? Do some research and prepare items ahead of time and invite them to participate or help you with the activity.
Especially if you have a loved one with memory loss visiting your home over the holidays, try to remember that the new environment may be overwhelming or confusing. Outside door security is important, but also leaving doors open inside the home such as the bathroom or a relaxing room, will allow your loved one to feel more secure. You may even consider labeling different things or rooms. Having a designated relaxing room can be beneficial for emotional safety if the event gets overwhelming for your loved one and they need to get away for a moment.
Helpful Safety Tips:
- Consider labeling different things or rooms for easier navigation.
- Be aware of times of day where your loved one is typically more anxious.
- Confine your loved one or exclude from areas other people are allowed.
Routine will be important to keep as close to normal as possible. There will be a lot of extra stimuli so having the comfort of routine will benefit your loved one.
Not sure what your guests’ routine usually looks like?
- Ahead of time, contact their caregiver or person who is familiar with routine.
- Ask what you can do to be aware, prepare and help support that routine.
- Are there any items or belongings that bring comfort or support their routine?
Many of our readers know that we are big fans of music and music therapy at English Rose Suites and bhome Home Care. You may recall from our previous blog, Music & Memory: A Secret Weapon Against Dementia, I discussed how music activates all areas of the brain. The last area of the brain to atrophy in people with Alzheimer’s disease is the area that is activated by music, which makes music very powerful for loved ones with memory loss. Holiday music is no exception! Holiday music is wonderful for reminiscing and maintaining the well-being of the day. Holiday music can be especially beneficial during the times of day that one might usually be more agitated.
We hope you enjoy using these tips. But most of all remember to enjoy your time with your loved ones!