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How to Make a Christmas Gathering More Comfortable for a Senior with Dementia

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Family gatherings can be difficult to manage under any circumstances. However, when providing Warren dementia care for a senior loved one, there are additional factors to take into consideration. Loss of memory or other symptoms related to the condition can cause your loved one to become frustrated, but there are ways to increase his or her comfort level during a holiday gathering.

Make Name Tags for the Whole Family

If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, name tags are a great way to help jog his or her memory and avoid embarrassing situations. These can be decorative and fun, especially for grandchildren, and written in large, easy-to-read handwriting or print. This tactic is especially helpful for larger gatherings with less immediate family involved.

Provide Reminders About Your Loved One’s Condition

Prior to the gathering, it may be helpful to remind other attendees about your loved one’s condition and his or her abilities, especially those related to memory. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and will be sensitive to your loved one’s needs. People are much less likely to be offended if your loved one does not remember them and will show greater compassion than they might have without preparation.

Try to Stick to Your Loved One’s Schedule

It can be beneficial to try and maintain your loved one’s normal routines, including when he or she starts and ends the day and timing of medications. This can reduce your loved one’s anxiety and help keep him or her healthy during the holidays. However, this may mean celebrating earlier than you might ideally wish, but reducing your loved one’s stress can make it well worth the adjustment.

Observe Familiar Traditions

Your loved one might respond well if a holiday gathering includes elements familiar to him or her, possibly from many years past. This can help your loved one feel included and may stir happy memories from his or her younger days. These elements can include traditional food and music as well as old-fashioned Christmas trees and classic movies.

Including your loved one in holiday festivities can help promote his or her emotional and mental wellbeing. However, the same quality of life should be maintained all year long. If your loved one could use additional assistance around the holidays and the rest of the year, consider hiring a professional caregiver. For trusted dementia care, reach out to Warren Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free consultation.