Dec 6, 2021 | Alzheimer's and Dementia

By Jackie Tangiers, LCSW-C, CCM

The holidays are a busy time of year for all.  Celebrating with family while caring for a person with dementia makes it extra challenging.  However, with careful advance planning, you can navigate these special times by adopting the following tips.

Knowing that there are travel and visits involved in the holiday season, it is best to gingerly notify any guests that your loved one will be with you and that the timing may need to be modified. Letting friends and family know of dementia not only is a help to you and your company but also some help to your loved one.

10 Tips to Alleviate Stress:

  • Keep the visit to a reasonable length. Keep it simple and remember to smile.
  • Be flexible. Set a time, but do not be disappointed that the time is cut short if your loved one is uncomfortable.
  • Try to modify your environment – keep the noise level and distractions at a minimum and keep your environment well lit.
  • Remember that their disability is memory loss. They cannot remember and cannot remember that they cannot remember. Respond to feelings rather than words.
  • Let your loved ones finish their thought and verbalize at their own pace. Do not interrupt or correct them.
  • Be sure that you and your guests address your loved one on an eye-level and speak directly to their face so that they can see you and your face.
  • Try to restrict caffeinated beverages and alcohol and limit sugar.
  • Best to try to have familiar surroundings.
  • Adjust expectations
  • Build on past traditions and rituals/lighting the menora or decorating the tree. Adapt gift giving.

Here are some ideas for involving your loved one: 

  • Help with food preparation. For example, place crackers on a dish, or mix something with a spoon.
  • Help with gift wrapping; like cutting pieces of tape.
  • Help with decorating the house.
  • Help with setting the table.
  • Help to wrap utensils in a napkin.

Most importantly, enjoy your time with your loved ones and be flexible! Remember not to argue, reason, or confront. Do not question their memory, instead say, “Look who I have with me today, it’s Mike.” Let the conversation flow.

We hope these simple tips will help everyone relax and enjoy the moment.  Whether reminiscing or making a new memory for the family, time together is precious.  Enjoy your time together!

If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Please contact our professional care management team for assistance.

About The Option Group: Founded in 2010, The Option Group’s compassionate team of experienced Certified Life Care Managers serves families, their loved ones, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The firm understands the challenges of caring for an individual who needs assistance due to aging, dementia, disability, or serious illness. Their skilled providers possess over 100 years of combined experience navigating the healthcare maze and accessing hundreds of quality resources. The Option Group helps families spend quality time with their loved ones, providing clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899 (PA) / or 302-858-6449 (DE).