For many families with a loved one suffering from dementia, the holidays can be a tough time.
Having family get-togethers is a time to share memories and since dementia robs people of their memories, some may find it to be difficult. What I recommend is to not have too many expectations because being “dementia aware” is about acting within the moment and expressing caring attributes.
Here are some specific tips I offer to help make sure you and your loved one have an enjoyable experience over the holidays.
- Keep the number of guests to a minimum during your get together. If there are too many people in the room with your loved one, they may have difficulty communicating.
- Avoid starting conversations with “Do you remember?” Instead, use phrases such as “We had such a great time when …”
- If food is being prepared, consider giving them a small task such as stirring. Avoid dangerous jobs.
- Always provide your loved one with dementia a space where they can get away from the activities and get a rest in.
- Pleasant smells throughout the house would possibly make your loved one feel welcome. Cooking often helps with this, or using a holiday-scented candle.
These tips may help a family have a fun time with their loved one this holiday season. Remember: If they feel involved, are provided with a low-key environment, are given an area to get away and aren’t overwhelmed then they will feel comfortable.
All of this will allow you to unlock your abilities to make meaningful connections and meaningful moments.
Often times, when that happens we experience hope.
The greatest hope can be obtained when we understand the disease we are facing with compassion and a clear understanding of what’s ahead. Only then can we find these incredible moments and connection that give rise to an everlasting hope.
Happy Holidays to everyone!