The holidays are a time for family and tradition. But, when your elderly loved one is living with dementia, it can be a more stressful time than usual. Dementia adds a number of difficulties to the holiday season. This article can help you and your family navigate some of these potential complications to make the season better for your elderly loved one.

Changing Environments for the Holidays

For people living with dementia, familiar surroundings are important. Changes to their surroundings can be disruptive and confusing. Therefore, consider limiting the number of holiday decorations you put up in their home. While they can help them understand the holiday season, a lot of decorations can confuse them.
Additionally, consider the venue of your holiday gatherings when planning things out. If it is possible to host the family get-together at your elderly loved one’s home, it can be an easier transition for them. Further, if they start to get frustrated or confused, you can bring them to their bedroom to relax. If their home is not suited for the gathering, consider hosting it at a family member’s house that they visit often.

Maintaining Traditions

Family traditions are important to any holiday. But, for those with dementia, traditions can make them feel more comfortable. Stick to the foods your family normally serves, the same music, and the usual decor.

Don’t Memory Quiz

Your loved one is going to have trouble remembering past events. Don’t ask them if they remember older holidays, or past memories, as this can frustrate them. However, if they start sharing a story or a memory themselves, be sure to listen to them. Don’t correct them if what they say is incorrect or misremembered.

Understanding Expectations

It is important to temper expectations when planning the holidays. Try not to get caught up in the minutia, and appreciate that your loved one is still with you.

Making New Memories During the Holidays

While it may be hard for your loved one to remember things, that shouldn’t stop your family from making memories. Be sure to take pictures around the table, continue with family traditions, and enjoy the holidays. Include your elderly loved one in the festivities, as well as the pictures.

Hosting for the Holidays with Dementia Care

It is important to understand that any holiday host has additional responsibilities when a loved one with dementia is around. Be aware that your loved one will require more supervision than in past years. Consider asking your other family members to take turns focusing their attention on your elderly loved one, while you take care of hosting. Dividing the responsibility will make it easier for the family as a whole. Additionally, your loved one’s home health aide may be available to work during the holidays to provide additional care and supervision. Speak with your loved one’s aide about their holiday availability.

Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us by clicking here, or call (718)-979-6900.