The holidays represent a meaningful time of celebration and family traditions that always help bring people together. With constant adapting and changing throughout the holidays, whether it’s cooking a new recipe, or changing the family gathering to outdoors, seniors sometimes find it the most difficult to keep up with the many activities happening. The constant environment of family members mingling or moving can cause confusion and sometimes even anxiety for seniors suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The holidays will definitely look different this year, so it’s important to adapt and ensure seniors who suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s feel safe, happy, and interested in participating in whatever the family has planned this year. Check out some tips to ensure success in assisting seniors this holiday season:
Prepare seniors for the big day - Finding time before the big day of celebration to sit down with the one you care for can really be beneficial in ensuring they feel comfortable and prepared. Show seniors pictures of their loved ones, reminding them that they will be seeing them very soon. Call a loved one so the senior can talk and hear familiar voices or create a more comfortable setting for the senior and instill confidence about future interactions.
Prepare the guests - Set aside time to contact the seniors family, letting them know the latest news involving their loved one. Explain how at family gatherings, there needs to be a sense of awareness to ensure the senior is not overly stressed or anxious. Even though you are communicating with the family about precautions they need to take, also explain how their presence will also lift the senior’s spirits this year, where moments truly matter.
Create a safe space - You may take all precautions and still there may be times when seniors become stressed or anxious. Having a safe space for seniors to go to when they feel overwhelmed is a great way to take a break, re-charge, and get back out there whenever they are ready. Dedicate a separate room in the house, an area outside, or their bedroom as a safe space where they can go to decompress and relax if they need to.
Being aware, prepared, and involved are some of the key traits families and caregivers can take to ensure seniors are safe and a part of celebrations this year. If you are a caregiver, communicate and create a plan with the family of the senior to guarantee the best possible outcomes during the holidays. The holidays are an amazing time to be happy and celebrate, but also plan ahead and ensure seniors are protected as well.