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Holiday tips for caregivers

Easter weekend is here, and we wanted to share a few tips for caregivers to people with dementia that could help in the holiday season:

  • Keep it simple – too many people, too much noise, and too much activity can be overwhelming.
  • Maintain simple traditions – well-loved family rituals are reassuring and provide a sense of belonging. Include the person with dementia in activities – let him/her stir the cake batter or drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets.
  • Create rest periods – for yourself and for the person with dementia.
  • Save time for reminiscing – holiday memories are good to savour.
  • Play favourite songs – music is soothing for everyone.
  • Prepare family and friends – Before visiting, let family and friends know of any changes to the person with dementia’s condition. Provide them with tips or suggestions to help reduce any anxiety.
  • Plan shorter, smaller visits – Keep social times short for the person with dementia. For many, it is the cumulative effect of noise, people and confusion that can be upsetting.
  • Adjust for meal times – Consider being flexible to adjust the meal time for the person with dementia. Table talk can be loud and hard to follow. A full plate of food can be just too much. Using a knife and fork may now be difficult. Finger foods are always a good choice. A separate table with one or two others could be set up.
  • Take care of yourself – Especially if you are a caregiver, take care of yourself too at this busy time of year. When others offer to help – say yes! Schedule time to recharge your batteries.
  • Take turns – In larger groups, arrange ahead of time for each person to ‘take a turn’ supporting the person with dementia by staying by the person’s side.
  • Engage one sense at a time – Overwhelming a person with dementia is often an issue. If you’re having a conversation, avoid playing music or having the TV on. If you’re outside and looking at the snowy street, you don’t always need to be talking.
  • Reach out – The Dementia Society is here to help!

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