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How to Make the Holidays Special for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

November 13, 2020

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Once November rolls around, the holiday spirit begins to take hold all across the country. You’re probably starting to plan for Thanksgiving and might even get a head start planning how you will celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Many people would argue that this time of year is best celebrated with close friends and family.

While you don’t disagree, you’re not sure what you can do to help your senior loved one who’s struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia. You might even start to wonder if celebrating will even be the same this year. The good news is, you can help your loved one and family experience the same holiday joy that they’re used to. All it takes is knowing the right tips to help your loved one get the most out of the holiday season.

Get Your Other Family Members Ready

When you’re celebrating the holidays, there will be other family members there with you. It’s important to help them get prepared for spending time with someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. A good place to start is to tell them to speak slowly and with a calm tone when speaking to your loved one. This will make it easier for your loved one to understand and participate in the conversation.

Tell your family members that your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Inform them that as a rule, they shouldn’t talk about your loved one’s situation in front of them. Instead, encourage the other guests to ask your loved one about their past holiday experiences. Thinking back on meaningful memories can help your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia open up and feel more comfortable.

Make Your Home Alzheimer’s and Dementia Friendly

When you’re hosting a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s normal to make some adjustments to your home. One of the easiest things you can do is clear up any clutter in your home and create clear pathways. That way, you won’t have to worry about your loved one falling or having trouble getting around.

Clutter can also cause confusion for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Having too much clutter can be disorienting for your loved one, which can cause them extra stress and anxiety. Plus, having a clean and open space will allow your loved one to safely explore and enjoy any decorations you have up for the holidays.

Keep Your Loved One Involved

Even though your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it doesn’t mean they can’t participate in holiday festivities. It’s good to give your loved one some simple tasks to complete so they can contribute and feel like they’re part of the holiday festivities. For example, ask your loved one to help set the table for Thanksgiving or bake cookies with the family on Christmas.

Many people think that the best option for their loved one is to sit back and relax. But this can actually make your loved one feel isolated. No matter what holiday traditions your family has, find a way to give your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia a way to get involved. Even something as simple as putting on some holiday music can help your loved one build new meaningful memories.

Talk About Long-Term Memories

People who have Alzheimer’s or dementia are much more likely to retain their long-term memories. So, sharing stories about the past is a great way to make the holidays special for your loved one. With the whole family together, you can start by looking at some old family photos. Seeing these pictures can help your loved one remember their own experiences.

In fact, there’s a reason why many memory care communities, like Franciscan Ministries, use old photos or memory boxes to help residents build connections. If your loved one starts talking about a memory, let them know you’re listening by asking questions about the story.

Explore Expert Memory Care Services at Franciscan Ministries

At Franciscan Ministries, we know that your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia has a story to tell. That’s why we provide specialized memory care at our communities. Our top priority is helping memory care residents make new meaningful memories.

All our memory care communities offer a variety of activities designed to give residents a higher sense of purpose. If you’re interested in helping your loved one improve their quality of life this holiday season, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about the premier memory care service at Franciscan Ministries.