Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Considerations for the Holidays for Families of Persons with Dementia

  1. Take your time. Synchronize your pace to that of your family member with dementia. The holiday season is about enjoying quality time with family and friends, and excessive entertaining activities can be overwhelming.
  2. Plan one activity at a time. Multitasking can lead to frustration.
  3. Understand if your family member doesn’t seem to appreciate the efforts of preparing an elaborate dinner. They may be happy to just be in your company and get anxious with all of the activity and fuss involved in meal preparation. On the other hand, they might really enjoy helping with the preparations for the holiday meal.
  4. Consider the noise level and multiple distractions. These can impact a person with dementia
    when large groups of family or friends are gathered together and do not be offended if your family member wants to go home immediately after eating dinner.
  5. Be considerate of the words “do you remember.” Do not pressure a person to reminisce and
    remember specifics if the memories do not easily come. Consider reflections based on phrases like “I remember when we used to go to…” or “How I enjoyed that holiday when we….”
  6. Share photo albums of previous holiday celebrations. This can assist with a relaxing form of
  7. Allow for a quiet space for a family member with dementia to relax. They may need a brief time to rejuvenate to continue with the activities of the season.
  8. Set priorities and a routine for the holidays in advance. Decide what is most important for you and your family member with dementia and focus on those priorities.
  9. Include the person with dementia in decisionmaking and priority setting around the holiday plans. Listen--really listen--to their preferences and hopes for the holidays.
  10. Have fun!

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