Enjoying the Holidays While Caring for a Loved One with Dementia
The holidays can be complicated, especially in families where a loved one has dementia. This degenerative condition can lead to agitation, outbursts, confusion and wandering. These situations require special attention, and here is a guide on how to handle the holidays when providing dementia caregiving.
Educate family and friends about and how holidays can trigger behavior. Help calm their fears and teach them how to respond if de-escalation is needed.
Focus on dementia friendly activities. While your loved one may not remember names or events it doesn't mean they can't enjoy the festivities. Incorporate activities that prompt familiar memories, a playlist with their favorite songs or bring out family photos. Be careful to not push them too hard to remember specific details. Create opportunities to engage them by giving them tasks such as helping set a table, sort gifts, make cookies or decorate.
Prioritize safety. Your loved one may be overwhelmed by a room full of people they can't remember. Agitation can lead to wandering. Have family members take shifts in engaging and keeping an eye on your loved one reducing the pressure on the primary caregiver.
Adjusting to a new normal. Try to let go of expectations of how the holiday "should" look. you prepare for the holidays you may have to limit the parties or guests, but it is worth it to give your loved one a season to celebrate and enjoy.
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