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Our Best Advice For Including a Senior Loved One With Dementia In Holiday Traditions

Our Best Advice For Including a Senior Loved One With Dementia In Holiday Traditions

A senior couple decorating a tree for the holidays

With the holiday season fast approaching, our CountryHouse team understands that it can be a challenging time for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia and their families. However, we firmly believe that with a little creativity and understanding, you can create beautiful holiday memories together. 

In this blog post, we’ll share our best advice on including a senior loved one with dementia in holiday traditions. Whether they are a resident of our memory care in Lincoln, NE or they live at home full time, this information can help to assure a happy and memorable holiday season:

1. Embrace the Familiar

The first step in including your senior loved one in holiday traditions is to embrace the familiar. Use decorations, music, and traditions that hold sentimental value and trigger positive memories. Familiarity can provide comfort and reassurance for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one has a favorite holiday song or ornament, make sure to incorporate it into your celebrations.

2. Keep It Simple

Simplicity is key when planning holiday activities for those in memory care communities. Avoid overwhelming them with a busy schedule or too many people. Opt for quieter, more intimate gatherings where your loved one can feel at ease. Simplicity will allow them to engage more fully in the festivities without feeling stressed.

3. Create Sensory Experiences

Engaging the senses can be a powerful way to connect with those living with Alzheimer’s disease. You can do this by incorporating sensory elements into your holiday traditions. For example, you could try baking together to stimulate their sense of smell, or use textured decorations that they can touch and interact with. These sensory experiences can help trigger positive memories and emotions. Plus familiarity can be especially comforting.

4. Maintain a Routine

It’s important to stick to a routine as much as possible during the holiday season. Maintaining a regular schedule can help reduce anxiety and confusion for your loved one. Make sure meals and medication schedules are consistent to ensure their comfort and well-being. If your loved one is a resident of our memory care in Lincoln, NE, and they are visiting you for the holidays, our staff would be happy to provide you with information regarding their day to day schedule. This will help to keep everyone as comfortable and consistent as possible.

5. Be Flexible

While maintaining a routine is crucial, it’s equally important to be flexible. Understand that your loved one’s needs and abilities may change from day to day. If a planned activity becomes too overwhelming or challenging, be ready to adapt and try something else. The key is to focus on their comfort and enjoyment.

6. Encourage Participation

Encourage your senior loved one to participate in holiday activities, but don’t force them if they’re not interested. Some may prefer to watch and observe, while others may want to be more actively involved. Respect their choices and preferences, and be sure to praise their efforts and accomplishments. If children are involved in the holiday celebrations, remind them that their senior loved one may or may not participate, and that’s okay. 

A resident of the memory care in Lincoln, NE visiting her granddaughter and baking holiday cookies

Important Communication Tips to Remember

Effective communication is essential when including a senior loved one with dementia in holiday traditions. Here are some tips to keep in mind. It can also be beneficial to remind other family members about these communication tips, especially those who might not see your senior loved one very often. This is also great advice for any children who might be involved in the festivities. 

Keep It Simple

Use clear and simple language when talking with your loved one. Avoid using too many colloquialisms or slang terms they might not understand. Also refer to people by name as well including the relationship could be helpful, i.e., “my husband, Steve” or “your granddaughter, Cynthia”. 

Maintain Eye Contact

Another great tip is to remember to maintain eye contact. This ensures that your loved one has your full attention and vice versa. 

Practice Patience

Even though the holidays can be fast paced and you might expect an answer right away, remember to be patient and give them time to respond. Dementia can impact motor skills and affect speech in the process. Your loved one may need a moment or two to gather their thoughts and articulate their response. 

Remember Active Listening 

Remember that the holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, your senior loved one included. At a holiday celebration or dinner, there can be a lot of commotion and chatter. If they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, listen actively and validate their feelings.They may need to take a breather to a quieter room of the home to rest and regroup. 

Be Mindful

Due to the nature of the disease, your loved one may become confused or disoriented. Avoid correcting or arguing with them if this occurs. This can make things escalate and quickly dampen the holiday celebration. Instead, opt to help your loved one calm down. Once again, navigating to a quieter part of the home and resting can be a great solution. 

Contact Our Memory Care in Lincoln, NE

The holiday season is a wonderful time to create meaningful memories with your senior loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease. By embracing the familiar, keeping things simple, creating sensory experiences, maintaining a routine, being flexible, and encouraging participation, you can make the holidays special for both of you.

If you find that your loved one’s dementia care needs are becoming more complex, remember that CountryHouse specializes in dementia care, including memory care in Lincoln, NE. Our caring and experienced team is here to provide the support and assistance your loved one deserves. 

In fact, if you’re considering memory care for someone you love, but aren’t certain about a permanent move, consider a winter stay at select CountryHouse communities this winter. The person you love will benefit from delicious homemade meals, activities and outings, as well as a community that’s specially designed for those with memory loss. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing that they’re warm, safe and in good hands with our experienced, caring staff. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you believe it’s time to consider memory care for your senior loved one. Together, we can ensure their safety, well-being, and quality of life during this special season and beyond. Wishing you a warm and joyful holiday season!

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