Sunday, November 15, 2015

Holiday Tips for Peace with Dementia

The holidays should be peaceful and happy times. While they are positive for many people, these last months of the year certainly are busier times with holiday parties, shopping, and cooking. When you are a care partner for someone with dementia or have dementia yourself, the extra holiday tasks can make the holidays extra stressful.  Here are 2 links that may provide some appreciated information for you, along with some of my comments on the articles.

The first article is from the Mayo Clinic and discusses how to simplify the holidays this year.  These are good tips, but do remember that ultimately your loved one decides what are good ideas. For example, the article mentions to keep things low-key.  That is sage advice, unless your loved one with dementia love a loud party this year.  As a care partner, take care of yourself and do the best you can.  It is very hard to make everyone happy.

The second article/PDF is from the Alzheimer's Association regarding gift giving. Remember that this is just a good list of ideas and that no list is perfect.  It is divided up into different stages of dementia. You may not know the stage! When in doubt ask the family or professional care partner about what you are considering getting. While it may be well intentioned to get someone a memory aid, post it notes, a pad for writing down tasks, think about how the person with dementia will feel getting it.  It very well could be unintentionally insulting or make them feel like a child.  Instead, think about what hobbies they have always enjoyed, but keep it simple.  When in doubt, music or a music player can be a priceless gift that stimulates the mind and brings joy. Consider things that bring comfort on the list. Something not on the list are essential oils for aromatherapy.  Also, do not forget their care partner!  Offer a coupon book of hours to relieve them while they go to a movie, hair salon, or dinner.  Gift certificates for any of these place are nice as well, just remember they may need help to leave the house.

I hope you find this helpful and I welcome comments and additional holiday and gift ideas.
  • As always, write your favorite ideas, make a plan to follow through and see how it goes! 
  • Be flexible and go with the flow. Write down your successes and lessons learned.
  • Add a comment or question. 
  • Like us on FB and visit our website for a list of support groups and services.
Here's wishing you and your family and happy and peaceful holiday season!

Matt Estrade, MBA, CAPS is the Founder and Chief Mentor at Care Partner Mentoring, LLC in Covington/New Orleans, LA, USA. A more extensive biography can be found here.

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