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DEALING WITH DEMENTIA DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Dealing-with-Dementia-During-the-Holidays

 Most families look forward to the holidays. Over time, many familes develop traditions and activities that take on special meaning. While these memories are cherished, it can also make it challenging for families dealing with a loved one with dementia or memory loss. Family members may not understand how to handle the holidays and can experience feelings of both loss and disappointment. And while each family member longs for their loved one to have a wonderful holiday, it's difficult to know how to accomplish it with the new normal. Experts suggest that by adjusting expectations and modifying some traditions and activities, families can make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone involved. The following are a few suggestions for consideration,

  • Knowledge is power. With Google at your fingertips, you can glean a lot of information about the best approach to the holidays with your loved one. If they are in a memory support community or you are part of a support group, take the time to talk with the staff and others who have had similar experiences. These groups will have practical wisdom to offer.

  • Be forgiving. Many people with dementia may often repeat themselves or say things that are out of character. These actions can cause stress for the family. Unfortunately, it is a natural part of the illness. While it can be a challenge for your loved one to behave in ways that aren't typical of them, be patient and avoid getting into arguments.

  • Adapt gift giving. Gifts should be simple and useful, using your knowledge of your loved one. Would they enjoy a favorite food or baked good, branded team apparel such as a sweatshirt or cap, a photo album, etc.? Stick with items that will be not only enjoyable, but also familiar.


  • Be inclusive. Focus on your loved one and bring them into as many activities as possible. Create opportunities for them to join in the fun by reminiscing about the past, or giving them a task to do. The more they feel part of any celebration, the better everyone feels.


  • Take the holiday to your loved one. If your loved one is in a memory support community, join them there. Many campuses offer celebrations which the family can participate in. You can bring food to share with your loved one's friends, sing Christmas carols, or read them their favorite Christmas story. The simple things done together are a great way to celebrate the holiday season.


  • Redefine success. The holiday will look different for a family whose loved one has memory loss. Celebrate small victories like a few smiles and a good hand squeeze or laugh. Don't compare this holiday to the past, instead, treasure the present.

At Evergreen Senior Living, our community focuses on socialization, both physical and mental, for all our guests. We understand the importance of the holidays to our residents and families. If you are considering a memory support community, check out our website. You can learn more about The Legacy: Memory Support and our philosophy of care, Life Unrehearsed, which combines proven compassionate approaches to prompt positive interactions and daily success for our seniors. Give us a call today to learn more (217) 864-4300.

The Holidays at Evergreen Senior Living Champaign
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