Tips for Making the Holidays Brighter for Those with Alzheimer’s
Because those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia thrive best on routine and predictability, the holiday season, with its influx of visitors, bright decorations, different foods and activities, etc., can cause some unsettled feelings and distress. At Hired Hands Homecare of California, we’re familiar with the overwhelming nature of the holidays for some seniors, and have put together the following ideas that have worked well to help the seniors in our care maintain a sense of calm and peace:
- Stretch out the celebration. Rather than opening a pile of gifts at once, try just one or two at a time for a more low-key approach.
- Keep it small. Host small get-together visits, stretched out over several days, instead of trying to incorporate someone with dementia into a large, noisy party.
- Maintain routines. As much as possible, hold fast to the routines that your loved one with dementia is accustomed to.
Since those with dementia can find repetitive activities soothing, try some of these holiday activities:
- String garlands. Using a long, heavy piece of thread and a darning needle, string cranberries, popcorn, and colorful o-shaped cereal. Hanging the completed garland outside can attract birds and allow the senior the opportunity to watch them enjoy the treats as well.
- Make paper chains. This is a wonderful activity for the senior to work on with an older grandchild. Simply cut strips of brightly colored construction paper, curl around one another, and tape or staple to create a chain.
- Create pomanders. With their soothing and perhaps familiar scents, pressing cloves into oranges can evoke a sense of calm, and the end result makes a beautiful and fragrant holiday decoration. (Be sure to remember to dispose of them after the holidays.)
- Crack nuts. Provide a large bowl of whole, shelled nuts and an old-fashioned nutcracker, and enjoy the activity with your senior loved one.
Most importantly, take time to slow down your pace during the holiday season to match that of your loved one with dementia. He or she will pick up on your sense of calm, which can reduce anxiety and agitation levels.
For more tips and ideas on making the holiday season more enjoyable for your beloved seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, call us at 866-940-4343. We provide specialized dementia care by thoroughly trained professionals who are experts in communications, problem-solving, and compassionate, hands-on care with dignity and respect. Serving Marin, Sonoma, Napa counties and the Tri-Valley for over 20 years, we’re the senior home care team you can trust to keep your loved one safe and enhance his or her quality of life – during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year. We look forward to serving you!