NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The holiday season is officially underway, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has provided four dementia-friendly tips to help families who are impacted.
“The holiday season can be both joyful and stressful for all of us, especially individuals living with a dementia-related illness,” said Jennifer Reeder, LCSW, AFA’s director of Educational and Social Services. “Being proactive, adaptable, and inclusive of the person’s wishes and abilities are the best ways to help them have a happy and joyful holiday season.”
Anyone who is caring for a person with dementia should consider these tips:
Even though decorating is a big part of the holiday season’s fun, too much stimulation can be hard for someone with dementia. You can keep things festive, but keep it simple.
Avoid flickering lights or noisy things that are overwhelming. Also, phase in decorations over several days, rather than right away.
Create a safe, calm space
Avoid using fragile decorations or ones that could be mistaken as edible treats. Also, be aware of anything that could cause someone to trip. Hook the Christmas tree to the wall, and use electric candles in menorahs or kinaras.
You could also have a space where that person can sit in comfort and where guests can visit. Always try to maintain a normal routine.
Adapt past traditions, or create new ones
You can build onto old traditions if it’s appropriate, but you could also start new ones that focus on what that person enjoys.
you should focus on the things that bring joy, and let go of any activities that seem stressful.
Involve the person in planning and preparations
When it’s possible, try to involve the person by asking about what traditions are important to them.
If they can’t go shopping for gifts, invite them to help with wrapping to help them feel like they’re contributing.