Many people use the holidays as a time to give, say thanks, and celebrate with the people they love. This is a joyous time for many of us but can sometimes bring added stress and sadness- particularly for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Knowing where your loved one’s capabilities are, and meeting them where they are at, is one of the best ways to make the holidays pleasant for all.
Our Senior Gems program, developed by Teepa Snow, helps point our families and caregivers in the right direction when deciding what activities and actions will make our loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia feel best. Consider implementing some of these tips into your holidays this year:
Create a Comfortable Environment
When a person has dementia, their environment can drastically change how they feel. Although the holidays are a big time for decoration, consider limiting the décor. You could do this by opting for regular lights instead of flashing lights. Another option would be to stick with a basic colour scheme instead of having bright, eccentric patterns everywhere. While these kinds of décor are fun, they can overstimulate the mind of a loved one with dementia, especially if they are in the later stages of brain change, such as a Ruby or Pearl.
Include Them in Activities
People with dementia like to feel connected and included. Planning their favourite activities will help get them into the holiday spirit and combat the loneliness they might be feeling. Some activities you could consider are baking, watching movies, scrapbooking, making jewelry, and many more. It’s the little actions of inclusion that make a huge difference for your loved one with dementia.
Remember it's very important to allow your loved one with dementia to get proper rest. The holidays can be long and stressful for those who do not have dementia, so it is especially draining on those that do. Encouraging times for naps and also creating a quiet and comfortable space to do so will allow your loved one to recharge and not become burnt out.
For more information regarding how to help your senior with dementia during the holidays, please join us for Teepa Snow’s webinar on December 9 where she will be able to share great tips for a successful holiday!