Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with a Loved One Living with Memory Loss
The holiday season is the time of year when families and friends come together and spend quality time. Unfortunately, even though this is a special and meaningful season, the holidays can also cause added stress. This is especially true for those caring for a loved one experiencing memory loss.
At Rivertown Ridge, we offer specialized memory care in a supportive environment in Wyoming, Michigan. Because of this, we understand how important celebrating the holidays is, but we also recognize the challenges that may come with the busyness and stressors of the season.
To help you make the most of the holiday season, our team is sharing meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays with a loved one with memory loss and make this time of year enjoyable for the whole family.
Keep Your Holiday Gatherings Simple
It is easy to get swept up in the magic of the holidays and feel the need to go overboard with decorations, music and other festivities. However, it is important to reign in all this sensory stimulation and focus on remembering what the holiday season is really about: spending quality time with family and friends.
Hosting elaborate holiday gatherings with fancy decorations and flashing lights may be exciting, but you do not need all of this in order to have a magical holiday. In fact, this could cause unnecessary stress for an individual living with dementia or memory impairment. For example, when a person living with dementia experiences overstimulation, increased confusion or agitation may result.
Furthermore, don’t feel obligated to attend every single holiday party that comes up. Instead, only go to the gatherings that are the most meaningful to you and your loved one. This way, your loved one will have a special holiday season without the added pressures and stressors of the constant “go, go, go” mindset that we often feel this time of year.
Maintain Your Loved One’s Routines
Routines can be highly beneficial for individuals with memory loss, so it is important to maintain your loved one’s daily routine as much as possible throughout the holiday season. Even though you may have more errands to run, more holiday parties to attend or even a gathering to host, maintaining your loved one’s routine as best you can will help reduce their stress and anxiety.
For example, plan holiday meals around the same time you and your loved one typically eat and try to stick to their normal evening routine. Additionally, attending or hosting gatherings earlier in the day can help avoid sundowning.
Include Your Loved One in Activities
Keeping your loved one mentally and physically active goes a long way in promoting brain health and can help delay further cognitive decline. Fortunately, a simple way to celebrate the holidays with your loved one and make the season more special is to make them feel included.
If you are hosting a holiday gathering, ask them to participate in activities such as decorating cookies or setting the table. During the party, play their favorite music or watch their favorite holiday movie.
Doing these activities keeps your loved one stimulated and engaged in the moment and helps them to keep their memories fresh in their mind.
Prepare Other Family Members Ahead of Time
A lot can change in a year, and you may have family members and friends that have not seen your loved one since the last holiday season. Conditions such as dementia that cause memory loss are progressive, so your loved one is likely different from how your family members remember them.
Prepare guests and friends before their visit, explain the basics of memory loss and what your loved one is going through, and remind them to treat your loved one with dignity, respect and patience.
When someone you love is living with dementia or experiencing memory loss, it can impact the holiday season, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your favorite traditions. Make sure to take into consideration how your loved one is feeling and make any adjustments when they feel overwhelmed.
At Rivertown Ridge, we understand the value of spending quality time with family and friends, especially during the holiday season. This is something we incorporate into our community in Wyoming, Michigan, every day. To learn more about our supportive memory care services, please visit our website or contact a member of our team.