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Published on: December 21, 2012
by Megan Ray for Sunrise Senior Living:
Planning a holiday celebration is a big task on its own, and it can be even more complicated for family caregivers. Though the holiday season is about spending time with loved ones and spreading good cheer, it often comes with a dose of chaos, especially at big family gatherings. If you find yourself struggling to prepare for the holiday get-together while providing for your loved one with dementia, here are some tips to help make the process easier:
Don’t Sweat The Details
People living with dementia have a hard time keeping track of details, but during this time of the year, you shouldn’t worry too much about the small stuff. If your loved one can’t remember certain names or even forgets that it’s the holiday season, don’t spend too much time correcting him or her.
Instead, do your best to make sure that he or she is comfortable, and save your reminders for the truly important moments, like just before guests arrive. Remind any visitors coming to your home, in advance, that your loved one may have trouble remembering names and faces, and that they should introduce themselves warmly if your family member seems unable to recall who they are.
During the actual celebration of the holiday, you’ll need to watch over your loved one to make sure he or she is safe and happy. If you’re planning a big meal, it may be best to cut up his or her food, but try to do this in the kitchen beforehand to avoid any embarrassment.
If you’re going to transport your loved one from his or her assisted living community to your home, make sure he or she is well-prepared for the journey. You can ask a staff member to help your family member pack, or you can suggest packing together when you arrive to make sure nothing important is left behind.
Music And Food Can Bring Cheer
Holiday carols and delicious cuisine are trademarks of this time of year, and both of these forms of celebration can be enjoyable for a person living with dementia. You may want to ask your loved one if he or she remembers any special foods, and invite him or her into the kitchen to help you prepare the dish. Be sure to play any holiday carols you know the senior in your life enjoys to help bring in the cheer of the season.
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