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Tips for the Holidays
The holidays can be tough with any family, but for caregivers of people with dementia, they can be especially difficult. The NYC Chapter can help! Here are some tips for caregivers to help things run more smoothly so you and your family are able to enjoy the holidays:
- During a holiday get together, it can be helpful for the person with dementia if everyone wears a name tag. This way there is no pressure for the person to remember everyone’s names. Make them colorful and fun so everyone wants to wear them!
- Since the person with dementia’s memory and conversation skills could be limited, try not to ask too many questions of him or her, especially those that begin with, “Do you remember…?”
- When conversing with the person with dementia, discuss what is going on in the room in that moment or make statements such as “It is so nice to see you”; “I like what you are wearing”; “Can I get you something to eat?”
- Ask family members to bring old photo albums that the person with dementia might like to look through. Tell him or her who is in the pictures.
- Create a quiet space that the person with dementia can retreat to if the gathering becomes over stimulating.
- If you are the caregiver and the host, consider making the get together potluck so that you are not pressured to do it all.
- Lastly, if you need assistance or support, our 24-hour Helpline is available around the clock at 800-272-3900
Coming up with creative ways to spend the day and pass the time can be a challenge for caregivers of people with dementia. Winter weather and cold temperatures are keeping people indoors, which can often leave us feeling stir-crazy. Here are a few tips to help caregivers in the development of activities:
- When planning activities, think about how the person for whom you are caring historically enjoyed spending his or her time.
- Adjust these activities so they are doable and safe, while also meaningful for the person with dementia.
- It is important not to infantilize the person by asking them to do activities which may be below their current level of functioning.
- When engaging in an activity, minimize distractions. Turn off the television and your cell phone.
- Be present with the person during the activity. Give the person you’re caring for your undivided attention, which will feel good for you both.
For more tips on creating meaningful activities, click here.
Regardless of the time of year, it can be a challenge to come up with meaningful activities to do with a person with dementia. With spring finally here, now is a great time to begin to explore the outdoors and take advantage of the warmer weather. When choosing activities, try to identify things the person you are caring for has historically enjoyed, while focusing on his or her abilities and modifying the activity based on the disease stage of the person.
- Work in the garden together or repot plants
- Grab an ice cream cone
- Toss a ball in the yard or park
- Play with pets or visit a zoo or botanical garden
- String Cheerios® to hang outside for birds
- Have an afternoon tea party outside
- Feed the ducks
And just because it’s spring doesn’t mean you have to go outside. Activities can be relatively simple indoors as well. Consider:
- Do some spring cleaning together
- Make homemade lemonade
- Look at family photographs
- Make a scrapbook
- Work on a puzzle together
It may be helpful to try and have activities ready in different rooms of the home, so there is never a shortage of engaging ways to spend time together.