Getting Through the Holidays With Dementia

By The Option Group

Holidays can be stressful for everyone. The family dynamics, who is getting together with who, the financial stress of buying gifts, COVID, and the list goes on and on. If you add living with and/or providing care to someone with dementia, it can be extremely overwhelming. Keeping a few goals in mind can be very helpful to navigate through this holiday season:

  • Keep it simple: simplify gatherings and outings.
    • This year it is prudent and wise to do this, so you have a completely valid excuse. You will need to adjust your expectations. Trying to avoid family conflict will also help keep things simple.
  • Enjoy time with family and a few select friends.
    • Familiarizing others with the situation before you see them will help decrease stress and make your time more enjoyable. You can also talk and plan out any get-togethers. Schedule holiday meals and gatherings during the day if evening confusion and agitation are a problem.
  • Try to incorporate traditions that your loved one enjoyed in the past and involve them on their level.
    • Have them hang a non-fragile ornament on the tree at their level that they might come back to again to remove and place back on the tree. Sing or play old songs together and look at old photographs. Fill measuring cups with ingredients from a traditional recipe that they can help by pouring them in.
  • Maintain a reasonable schedule so they can continue to follow a routine and not come off track and make things more disruptive and confusing
    Following their routine and schedule as much as possible during the day will also allow them to be ready for bed at night.
  • Schedule downtime, rest time
    • Even if they aren’t necessarily taking a nap or resting, find a quiet area, avoid overstimulation, and keep it simple.
  • Create a meaningful/enjoyable holiday for all

Always keep in mind that you need to take care of yourself, too. That can be a difficult thing to remember and do, especially if you are the only caretaker. Here at The Option Group, we have care managers that are ready to help with that.

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

About The Option Group: Our compassionate team of Geriatric/Aging LifeCare Managers (GCM) serves family caregivers, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland and South/Central Pennsylvania. Caring for an individual who needs assistance due to aging, dementia, disability or serious illness can be challenging. Don’t go it alone. The Option Group has over 75 years of experience navigating the healthcare maze and has access to hundreds of resources to assist you. Spend quality time with your loved one, not researching their care options. You can count on The Option Group to provide clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, please visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 (PA).