Helping a Loved One with Memory Loss Enjoy the Holiday Season

Posted on December 1, 2021

The holiday season is a time for family and friends to get together and spend quality time with one another. Unfortunately, while this is a magical and meaningful time of year, the holidays can also bring feelings of stress. This is especially true for individuals caring for someone who is living with a memory impairment.

As a memory care provider in Tennessee, The Pavilion Senior Living understands the difficulties that can come with celebrating the holidays with a loved one with memory loss. To help you create a memorable experience for the whole family, our team is sharing tips on creating a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Scale it Back

Remember what the holiday season is truly about: spending time with friends and family. You do not have to go all out with decorating your home and throwing elaborate holiday parties to have a magical holiday. In fact, this could cause more unnecessary stress for your loved one.

Additionally, you do not even have to attend every gathering you and your loved one are invited to. Instead, choose the family gatherings and holiday parties that are the most meaningful. By doing so, you and your loved one can have an eventful holiday season without the added pressure and stress of the “go, go, go” tendencies of this time of year.

If you do host a holiday party, make sure to prepare the meal in a simple and approachable way. For example, include your loved one’s favorite foods so that they feel familiar and comfortable during the meal.

Maintain Your Routine

Routines are beneficial for all of us, but they can be especially helpful for those living with a memory impairment. Even though the holiday season can be hectic, maintain as much of your loved one’s routine as possible to avoid added stress. 

For instance, make meals around the same time and, if possible, maintain their evening routine. This could mean hosting gatherings earlier in the day to meet these specific times. If your loved one experiences symptoms of sundowning, attending or hosting earlier holiday parties may be an important part of making the season meaningful for your whole family.

Plan Activities that Include Your Loved One

A key part of dementia care is keeping your loved one mentally and physically stimulated, and the holidays are a perfect way to do this. Ask them to participate in simple activities such as:

  • Making, writing, signing, and sorting holiday cards
  • Wrapping presents and crafting decorations
  • Helping with recipes and baking holiday cookies
  • Preparing dinners and assisting in setting the table, folding napkins, washing vegetables, etc.

During the gathering, reminisce about past holiday memories, play their favorite music, or watch their favorite holiday movie. Doing these activities not only keeps your loved one stimulated and engaged in the moment, but it also helps them to keep their memories fresh in their mind.

Holiday Safety Checklist CTA

Let Family and Other Visitors Know What to Expect

You may have family members traveling from out of town who have not seen your loved one since the last holiday gathering. Dementia and other memory impairments are progressive conditions, meaning your loved one’s memory impairment may be more advanced since their previous visit.

Make sure visitors and family members understand the basics of memory loss and what your loved one is going through. Provide helpful tips for communication and behaviors to encourage successful and meaningful connections.

As you navigate memory loss, holidays and other moments may start to look different, but that does not mean you cannot still honor traditions, create new memories, and enjoy everything the holiday season offers. Of course, make sure to consider how your loved one is feeling and make any adjustments when they feel overwhelmed.

At The Pavilion Senior Living, we value and understand the importance of spending quality time with family and friends. The holiday season only amplifies this. Even though it can get stressful at times, this time of year can have a positive impact on your loved one’s well-being.

To learn more about our memory care communities in Tennessee, we invite you to contact a member of The Pavilion Senior Living team or visit our website.