Tis the Season: Celebrating the Holidays with a Loved One with Memory Loss
We’re in the holiday season! While this is a magical time of year for families and friends to spend additional quality time together, it can also be a source of added stress.
On top of your typical, everyday responsibilities, you are rushing to finish your holiday shopping, putting up decorations, and maybe even preparing your home to host family members from out of town. This is a lot for anyone, but for individuals caring for a loved one with memory loss, the holiday season may bring its own set of challenges.
At Lakeshore Senior Living, we offer all-inclusive memory care services to individuals and families in Guntersville, Alabama. We know how important upholding traditions and celebrating meaningful moments with your loved one with memory loss is. Still, we also recognize the challenges that come with the busyness of the season.
To help you make the most of this year’s festivities, our team is sharing ways to celebrate the holidays with a loved one with memory loss and make the season memorable for the whole family.
Less is More
It is easy to go overboard and get swept up in all the magic the holiday season brings; we feel like we want everything to be picture-perfect. However, when celebrating the holidays with a loved one with memory loss, it is important to reign in the excess sensory stimulation. Instead, focus on what this time of year is truly about – spending quality time with friends, family, and other loved ones.
Attending or hosting elaborate parties with flashing lights and decorations may be exciting, but this could cause unnecessary stress for a person living with dementia and experiencing memory loss. “Avoid blinking lights or large decorative displays that can cause confusion. Avoid decorations that cause clutter or require you to rearrange a familiar room (mayoclinic.org).”
Furthermore, you do not have to attend every gathering. Instead, choose the family gatherings and holiday parties that are the most meaningful. By only attending a few gatherings, you and your loved one will have a significant holiday season without the added pressure and stress of the “go, go, go” tendencies of this time of year.
Plan Inclusive Activities
If you are the primary caregiver for a person living with dementia and experiencing memory loss, you already know that keeping them mentally and physically active can go a long way in promoting brain health and improving their quality of life. Another important way to celebrate the holidays with them is to ensure they are always included in the festivities.
Honor your family’s holiday traditions by adding ornaments to the tree together and decorating. Ask your loved one to help you with simple tasks such as decorating cookies or setting the table before the holiday meal.
During any holiday gathering, reminisce about past holiday memories, play their favorite tunes, or watch their favorite Christmas movie. Doing these types of activities not only helps to keep your loved one engaged and living in the moment, but it also helps to keep their memories fresh in their mind.
Follow Their Routine
Routines can be beneficial for all of us, but they can be especially helpful for individuals living with dementia and memory loss. We know the holiday season can get hectic, but maintaining your loved one’s routine as much as possible can go a long way in reducing their stress and anxiety.
For instance, aim to make mealtimes around the same time each day and maintain their regular evening routine. This could mean that you have to plan on hosting or attending holiday gatherings earlier in the day or during their “best times;” however, doing so will make the season more meaningful for your whole family.
When someone you love is living with memory important, the holidays may look different, but that does not make them any less special. Make sure you consider how your loved one is feeling and make any necessary adjustments whenever they feel overwhelmed.