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Four Ways to Make Holiday Gatherings Easier for Someone with Dementia

Posted: 12/17/2018 3:51 PM by Interim HealthCare
Consider the Time of Day

Many people who have dementia experience fewer symptoms at certain times of the day. For instance, your elderly family member might have a more difficult time with groups of people later in the day. So meeting with other family members for lunch or for a late breakfast can be a little more in keeping with what she needs. If your elderly family member is overly tired or isn't feeling well, the gathering may not go the way you expect.

Explain to Family Members What to Expect

When it comes to managing expectations, it helps to talk with family members before the event. Let them know what your senior has been dealing with and how she reacts to certain situations. If they haven't been around her in a while, they may not understand what it's like for her now that she has dementia. Understanding what to expect keeps them from reacting in a way that could be triggering for your elderly family member.

Give Your Senior Some Simple Tasks

For some aging adults, having some simple tasks to perform can help to burn off nervous energy and allow them to relax. If the tasks are simple enough, then your senior won't experience embarrassment or feel singled out. For instance, your senior can help set the table or help you to bring food to the table. If your elderly family member has more trouble with simple activities, she might enjoy watching everyone else.

Let Your Senior Have Some Space

Depending on the size of the gathering, your elderly family member might get overstimulated. This gets overwhelming quickly. Your senior might enjoy having a separate space to retreat to that can allow her to decompress a little bit from the crowd. If she knows that there's such a space available, that fact alone can be calming for her even if she doesn't take advantage of it.

You might want to consider hiring elderly care providers to spend time with your senior during really big family gatherings. They can stick with your senior and help her to deal with anything that pops up so that you're able to deal with the larger group.