The holiday season is now fully upon us. These sentimental festive times are normally spent celebrating together as a family. However, as a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, it can be a struggle to find holiday activities that are all-inclusive.
“It’s important to make sure your loved one with dementia is an active participant in your family’s holiday festivities,” states Danielle Buck, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™of Stuart,a Memory Care community in Stuart, Florida. “Being involved with family during the holidays gives your loved one a wonderful feeling of belonging, a reassuring and familiar link to their past.”
“Ultimately,” Buck continues. “Caregivers want to build upon family traditions and holiday memories, while also considering the best fit for their loved one with dementia. To ensure such, caregivers must really plan ahead to prepare activities the whole family can enjoy.”
Friendly Holiday Activities for Loved Ones with Dementia
Planning activities that fully include your loved one with dementia can take a lot of preplanning. But, with a little creativity, there are plenty of festive activities that will ensure your loved one is filled with true holiday cheer. Here’s a few great all-inclusive holiday activities that everyone will have a pleasure partaking in.
Delicious Holiday Meals & Treats
During the holidays much of genuine time together is centered around gathering for a meal or enjoying a sweet treat. Consider having your loved one help you in the kitchen. Simple tasks such as measuring out ingredients or putting the finishing touches on holiday cookies can involve your loved one while connecting them with family baking traditions.
Beyond making homemade goods together, consider incorporating the tastes of the season into other holiday activities. Gingerbread houses can be made and decorated as a festive family activity and then double as a holiday decoration around your home. Or, looking for some genuine quality time with your loved one, consider simply curling up on the couch and enjoying some festive hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Enjoy Classic Books & Movies
A true sense of nostalgia comes from classic holiday books and movies. A read aloud of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas or The Polar Express can be the perfect quiet activity to include your entire family. If your family is religious, you may also consider a reading of a religious text to connect with your loved one’s spirituality.
Similarly, watching a classic holiday movie can be a relaxing event that the whole family can enjoy. This could be your loved one’s favorites or a just released holiday film new to everyone. Whip up some holiday snacks and drinks to make the time even more festive.
Festive music is what sets the mood for the entire holiday season. Music also has a magical ability to connect your loved one with dementia with heartwarming memories of past holiday experiences. Playing some wonderful holiday tunes in the background of your family celebrations can give your loved one a calming sense of tradition and seasonal warmth.
However, holiday music does not just have to be a background component to your family festivities. Make your loved one’s favorite holiday tunes the center of your gathering by encouraging merry dancing and singing. A joyful time of caroling can be a pleasurable bonding experience for the whole family!
While together during the holiday season, it can be nostalgic to look through old family photographs. Photographs of past holiday celebrations can help add to both the festive atmosphere while also giving your loved one a true sense of belonging within the family. The key with this activity is to not focus on particular people in the pictures, but instead encourage your loved one with dementia to find pleasure and happiness in the festive things and events occurring in the pictures.
A creative activity the whole family can enjoy is creating a holiday themed scrapbook. The materials can be easily altered to your loved one’s abilities, allowing their imagination to explore any number of holiday picture designs. This festive scrapbook can be kept as a reminder of great memories for many holidays to come.
Plan an Outing
Neighborhoods often come to life with events during the holidays. Check in your area for local live music with cocoa or festive theatrical performance which could liven up your festive family celebrations. These events can be close to home, allowing you to maintain your loved one’s daily routine while still enjoying the holiday season.
If your loved one with dementia prefers more private than social gatherings, consider simpler activities which are more focused on one-on-one time. Depending on the weather, you and your loved one could take a refreshing nature walk to observe the changing colors of the seasons. Or bundle up and take a short car trip around your neighborhood to admire all the Christmas lights and decorations.
Trying to plan for festive family gatherings with a loved one with dementia can often be a difficult task as a caregiver. However, now braced with these all-inclusive holiday activity ideas you will surely be able to ensure your whole family has plenty of enjoyable holiday celebrations – much more than just twelve days’ worth!
To learn more about how to best support your loved one with dementia during this holiday season, contact the team at YourLife™ of Stuart at 772-207-4191. We’d be happy to share more tips for caregivers of a loved one with dementia, as well as invite you to join us for one of our upcoming events!
Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Stuart was created with one purpose – to provide the most exceptional Memory Care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. As Memory Care specialists, we focus all our energy, attention and resources to creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families.
Because Memory Care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We see each resident as an individual, understanding that everyone has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities. With that information, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence.
Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection.
Through our signature programming, YourStory, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and health and wellness programming, scheduled outings and other special events to personal care, assistance and multiple therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Stuart, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more!
Call us at 772-207-4191 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.