One of the main wishes during the festive period is that everyone in the family has a great time. However, for those living with dementia, it is more difficult to make sure this is the case.
Here are some general tips that may be able to help you and your loved one with dementia to enjoy the holiday season and reduce stress.
1) Plan ahead – If the house is unfamiliar to your loved one, you may want to consider putting labels on cupboards and around the house, e.g. the kitchen, the bathroom.
Consider putting plain rugs on patterned carpets as this will make it easier for your loved one to get around the house.
2) Schedule rest periods – Make sure that your loved one has the option to take respite during the day. You could designate a ‘quiet room’ that they could go into that is free from noise or set up a bedroom for them to nap in. Be patient with your loved one and do not put pressure on them to socialise.
3) Mealtimes – It’s important that you do not overload the plate. This can be overwhelming for someone with dementia – it is better to put less food on the plate and they can ask for more, if needed. Your loved one may feel self-conscious at a large table so do not make a fuss about them or make them feel like the centre of attention.
4) Think of activities that your loved one can get involved with – There is now a wide variety of ways you can get involved in activities with loved ones. Dementia-friendly board games are a great way to get the family involved in activities during the holiday season. We also think looking through old photo albums is a wonderful way to reminiscence with your loved one. Talking photo albums are great for those with dementia, where you can include personalised voice recordings with the photos.
5) Consider music they will enjoy – Music stimulates both the mind and body for those with dementia. It may be enjoyable for you and your loved one to visit church and sing Christmas carols or listen to music that they can reminisce to.
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