The limitations associated with the COVID pandemic impacted last year’s holidays, forcing many families to remain isolated from one another. Fortunately, this year families are able to embrace the opportunity to safely gather together once more. While decking the halls and getting ready for visits with your nearest and dearest, it is vital to incorporate adjustments to make certain loved ones can enjoy the holidays with Alzheimer’s as well.
Less is more.
Spreading out visits and inviting fewer individuals at a time instead of one big party with the entire family will most likely be easier for an older loved one to deal with. Overstimulation, excessive noise, and breaking from routine may cause irritation and agitation.
Timing is essential.
Pay close attention to the senior’s emotions through the course of an average day. Is the individual more content, alert, and engaged in the early mornings, or later in the evening? To the degree you are able, plan get-togethers around that time of day – even if this means breaking a family tradition. A holiday breakfast might be more pleasurable for the person than an evening party, for example.
Personal space is vital.
Seek out a calm room away from the hustle and bustle of friends and family, and help the senior retreat to that room if needed. Watch out for early warning signs that the individual is feeling overwhelmed, and have a couple of soothing activities at the ready, such as soft music to listen to, a photograph album for reminiscing, or even a nap.
Pre-plan helpful activities.
Ahead of the gathering put together a list of things the older adult particularly enjoys and responds to, and think of activities that include those ideas. A senior who likes music (as many with dementia do) may appreciate listening to a grandchild play traditional holiday tunes on the piano while everybody sings along. An older adult who has always enjoyed baking can join in rolling out pie crust or mixing cookie dough.
Bear in mind the senior’s tolerance for holiday visiting. There’s nothing wrong with cutting a celebration short if it’s in your loved one’s best interest.
Similarly, keep your own needs in mind. Taking care of a senior loved one with dementia is not easy, and adding in the additional components involved with the holiday season can bring extra tension to family caregivers as well.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care, experts in in-home care in Overland Park, KS and the surrounding areas, provides respite care services that allow family caregivers to take time for themselves. We’re available anytime you need a break, including at family functions such as holiday parties. Let one of our skilled dementia care staff serve as a companion for a loved one with dementia, guaranteeing all of his or her needs are met during the event and letting you relax and fully enjoy family time.