Navigating a life for seniors with dementia can be a challenging journey, especially during the holiday season. There are a variety of activities (including holiday activities) you can do for seniors with dementia that will enrich their lives, help them cherish the memories they have, and allow them to have an enjoyable time with family and other loved ones during the holidays.
Whether you are planning a short-term visit or bringing your loved one to your home, we’ve got you covered! In this blog, we’ll shine a light on the art of dementia care, offering practical advice and creative ideas to enrich the lives of seniors and caregivers and help you enjoy a stress-free holiday.
Visiting Seniors With Dementia for the Holidays
Some family members are only able to visit with their loved ones during the holiday season. For family caregivers, here are some great ways to incorporate the spirit of the holidays into a visit.
- Plan your visit. Try to visit during a time that your loved one is awake and alert. Speak with caregivers about when the best time to visit would be.
- Be patient if they seem confused or agitated or if they don’t remember you. Start with calming, reassuring language, and warm up to each other during your conversation.
- Beware of sensory overload. Visits can be overwhelming for seniors with dementia. Try to find a quiet place to visit, like their private room or a common area in the community.
- Remember that nonverbal communication can go a long way. A smile, hand gesture or hug can help ease the confusion that some seniors with dementia face during visits.
- Keep it simple and positive. Use simple, clear language, and utilize yes/no questions if necessary. Your loved one may pick up on your emotions. Try to maintain a calm and positive attitude, even if the visit becomes challenging.
- Communicate with caregivers. If your loved one is in a senior living community, take the opportunity to talk to the team members and caregivers at the community to understand your loved one’s current condition and any specific needs or concerns.
Holiday Care for Seniors With Dementia
Many activities are extra valuable during the holiday season when routines change, family members visit and more. Tailoring holiday activities to a senior’s interests and abilities allows for a personalized approach to dementia care. This can help maintain a sense of identity and self-esteem.
Navigating dementia and the holidays can be difficult, but below are some holiday and Christmas activities for seniors with dementia:
- Prepare for what’s to come. Help your loved one prepare for the visits from family members to come in the next few days. Share pictures and talk about family members who will be coming.
- Listen to classic holiday music. Enjoy time spent with your loved one, evoking nostalgia with the tunes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. This is an especially fun holiday activity for seniors because they may be able to remember older songs on the playlist and join in on the fun.
- Decorate the tree. Seniors with dementia can enjoy sorting through Christmas ornaments and tinsel and placing them on the tree to help the family decorate. This is also a great sensory activity for someone with dementia to be able to touch and feel the ornaments and slide the tinsel through their hands. This activity gives seniors with dementia a sense of purpose as they can do something meaningful for the holiday celebration.
- Bring a gift. Invest in a thoughtful holiday gift for your loved one that will enrich their life, such as a heated blanket or a new pair of comfortable slippers. These are meaningful gifts for residents with dementia that are useful, and they can be used over the following year.
Holiday Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers
- Stop and breathe. During the holidays, life can feel overwhelming. Whether visiting your loved one or celebrating holidays in your own home, take time to enjoy the holiday and your family, and leave the holiday struggles behind.
- Communicate. Be open with your family about the challenges of caregiving, and let them know how they can support you during the holidays. Clear communication can help avoid misunderstandings and reduce stress.
- Delegate. Delegate tasks to other family members to add a level of caregiver support and help take the stress off. Allow yourself a reprieve from full-time caregiving.
- Take care of yourself. Caregiver burnout is real, and caring for a loved one with dementia can be emotionally taxing. Make time for activities you enjoy, and don’t neglect your physical and emotional well-being.
- Be realistic. The holidays are rarely perfect. Don’t stress yourself out – decide what you can accomplish, and be willing to adjust your expectations. Focus on making meaningful moments rather than extravagant celebrations.
Explore Life at Mount Prospect Senior Living
Mount Prospect Senior Living is nestled in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and offers assisted living and Generations memory care, a specialized program for life enrichment created for seniors with dementia.
There is always something to do at Mount Prospect! Our dedicated activity coordinators create and plan Vibrant Life® activity calendars for both assisted living and Generations memory care residents. Memory care activities for seniors at Mount Prospect are crafted for the specialized needs of seniors with dementia. Our community strives to curate perfect events, outings and meaningful activities for everyone who lives at Mount Prospect.
Activities for seniors at Mount Prospect include:
- Daily fitness and wellness classes
- Weekly movies in the in-house theater
- Religious services for those who choose to participate
- A variety of board games and brainteasers
- Outings to local shops in the community
- Seasonal crafts and decorating opportunities
- Relaxation and aromatherapy classes
In addition to the Vibrant Life® daily activities, Mount Prospect has a variety of wellness amenities for residents in the community, including a spacious dog park for our furry friends, restaurant-style dining, a wellness center and services such as weekly linen, laundry and housekeeping services, all to create a carefree and comfortable lifestyle for residents. With expansive safety measures and practices to keep your loved one safe within the community, you will have peace of mind when your loved one is in Mount Prospect’s care.
The Mount Prospect community is a fun and lively place to be every single day. Our enriching activities and social opportunities work to engage every resident, no matter what their activity level. Interested in learning more about Mount Prospect? Contact us today to learn more about our supportive community.