The holidays are coming and although COVID will still be around, some families will be gathering with their LOs regardless. The holidays can be a difficult time for those living with dementia. Those states that recognize daylight savings time will be going to standard time on Nov 1. That means for many it'll be dark around 5 o'clock. Our LOs with dementia will begin to experience sundowning much earlier than previously. The following are some tips to make the holiday more enjoyable for your LOs and the family.
Where to celebrate:
-If your LO is in a facility, celebrate there. Reserve a room. This is their home. Going somewhere else could confuse, disorient them. Do not go to restaurant. I reserved a room at my wife's facility so the family could be together for Thanksgiving 2017.
-If early stages or MCI, home or quiet location may be appropriate. Less busy restaurants may be also appropriate.
-Make the Celebration Less Elaborate
Tone it down:
-Large gatherings and loud conversations can be disorienting for someone with dementia
-Especially during COVID keep smaller intimate celebrations
-Finish early to minimize “sundowning”
Involve Your Loved One:
-Wrap gifts
-Hang ornaments
-Sing along
-Set/clear the table
Preserve Traditions:
-Sing familiar Christmas songs
-Play holiday music
-Look at family photos, reminisce
-Have a familiar food for your loved one

Rick Phelps has been diagnosed with EOAD. Dispite that, he has recorded several videos on how he deals with the disease. The following link is a short video on his experience in dealing with the holidays.

I wish the best for all of you.

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Unfortunately, cases are on the rise. We have to take this seriously.

Thanks for sharing your ideas. Holidays are a mixed bag of emotions and even worse since Covid hit the scene.

Well, we can't go to the ALFs here, we're not allowed inside visits! So we won't be bringing celebrations anywhere this year, I'm afraid. Nor can we pick my mother up and take her out of her MC ALF as they're not allowing residents to leave unless it's to go to the hospital or to a doctor's appointment. No more window visits either b/c it's gotten too cold to stand outside for 20 minutes. So we'll either have to visit via a Zoom call (which is very difficult b/c of hearing issues) or just a simple phone call. Truthfully, I would prefer to skip 'the holidays' this year entirely if it were up to me.

I’ll be doing some FT visits with family and friends. I may drive by and wave to a couple of seniors, staying in my car and leaving some holiday treats. Except for immediate family that I live with, I won’t be having close contact, not even for the holidays. The covid risks in an indoor restaurant....not an option for me. I’m high risk.

Good suggestions, but I would caution against going to even less busy restaurants b/c of the pandemic.

The concept of recreating the holidays "in situ" is insightful and a really good idea; you bring the celebration to the facility, so the memories are created there instead of elsewhere.    The bonding will be supportive  as well.

Thanks for sharing your insights, and if you don't post again before then, have pleasant, happy, enjoyable and safe holidays with your own family.

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