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By Courage Homecare on January 04, 2024

Dementia Caregiver's Guide to the Holidays

Tips for caregivers supporting individuals with dementia

The holiday season is a time filled with joy, connection, and cherished traditions. For individuals living with dementia, these celebrations can bring both rewards and challenges. With some planning you can navigate the holidays and create meaningful and enjoyable experiences for your dementia care client or loved one with dementia. In this blog we share some activities to support your caregiving during the holiday season. 

 A helpful note…When working with people diagnosed with dementia, it's helpful to stay present with them. Asking direct questions that they may not remember the answer to can be frustrating for someone with dementia. Instead it can be helpful to make direct suggestions, or frame questions by sharing something about your experience. 

For example: “What did you like to do for Christmas?”

Can be rephrased as: “I used to make a gingerbread house for christmas. Would you like to do that together?” 

You can share an experience and ask if they would like to join in the activity. Same goes for asking about their day. Instead of asking “how was your day?” share what you did in your day and leave room for them to share. If they don’t share you can change the topic of conversation or just let the moment pass calmly. 

With this in mind, we hope these ideas help make the season special while ensuring the comfort and happiness of your client or loved ones!

Holiday Music Therapy

Music has a way of touching our hearts and bringing back cherished memories. Why not play some familiar holiday tunes and encourage your client or loved one to sing along or move gently to the music? It can evoke positive emotions and foster a beautiful sense of connection during this special time of year. You can also play music while doing any of the following activities we share. If you need help finding music, you can ask relatives or friends who may know what your client or loved one enjoyed listening to for the holidays. You can also start by sharing what music you enjoy during the holidays and this might inspire them to share what they’d like to listen to. 

 

 Memory-Based Crafts

Art and crafts are a fun way to help someone with dementia connect with memories. You can make personalized ornaments, scrapbooks, or memory boxes filled with nostalgic items. These activities can spark conversation and also tap into those special moments that hold so much meaning. If your client or loved one doesn’t speak up, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t feel like you need to probe to draw these memories out. Focus on the fun and enjoyment that comes through these activities. Talk neutrally about what you see in photos, like “wow, it looks like they are having a lot of fun” so that the person can appreciate the image whether they remember the people or moment captured in the photo,  or not.

Baking and Cooking Together

Have some fun with some simple cooking or baking activities. Choose easy recipes that they might remember, and enjoy the process of creating together rather than striving for perfection. This is another great moment to tap into support from loved ones who can suggest recipes or dishes that have personal significance. You can also find simple recipes that you enjoy for the holidays and share that memory with them. 

Sensory Activities

You can create sensory experiences such as enjoying the delightful scents of the holidays (like cinnamon or pine), or build decorations together. You can also watch holiday movies and make some popcorn for the event. The smell of freshly popped popcorn is another way to awaken the senses. These activities have the power to evoke positive emotions.

Storytelling and Reminiscing 

Share stories about the holidays with your client or loved ones. Storytelling is a powerful way to bring joy to their day. Your stories might evoke memories and stories that they will share with you. Remember not to expect a story back. Focus on the moment and quality time you are sharing. 

 

Generally, it is best not to set expectations. Try to be open to the moment, and to shift gears if needed. 

 

We hope these ideas inspire you to try new fun activities with your client or loved one with dementia. If you are a family caregiver looking for support, we at Courage Homecare Cooperative are here to help. Our caregivers can help support you by sharing the responsibilities of caregiving. 

Contact us today for your Free Care Assessment!

If you are a caregiver working with an agency and are looking for another community, we are here for you! We at Courage Homecare Cooperative are also owners of our home care business and are looking for dedicated caregivers to join our team and help us grow our business. 

Become a Worker-Owner today!

 

 

 

Published by Courage Homecare January 4, 2024
Courage Homecare