Preparing for the Holidays with a Loved One Who Has Dementia

As dementia progresses, being more flexible with holiday traditions will make everyone a little happier, says Tim Tholen, CEO and Founder of Thoughtful Health Care and its affiliates in Kansas City.

In the “Preparing for the Holidays” video, we’ll help walk you through holidays with a loved one who has dementia. A little planning and a lot of flexibility will pay off when celebrating together.

Watch the “Preparing for the Holidays” video below:

Communicate with Family before the Holidays

Because dementia progresses at uneven rates, friends and family from out of town might not have a clear understanding of what to expect. Here are some tips for getting everyone on the same page:

  • Try making a few phone calls to “level set” expectations can do a lot to help prepare guests.
  • Give them a few concrete tips, such as “Shorter sentences work well for Grandpa now,” or, “Mom does best in the daytime.”
  • Let people know that dementia is a disease that can cause behaviors, and these behaviors are not meant to be taken personally.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do make alternate plans—if your family wants to stick to specific holiday plans, factor in some alternatives for the loved one with dementia.
  • Don’t expect someone with dementia to be able to sit through long events or services.
  • Do watch for signs of overwhelm.
  • Do take the regular schedule into consideration and try to stick by it.
  • Don’t give up! Ask for help if you need it.
  • Do check out our “Preparing for the Holidays” video for a more comprehensive holiday guide.

And remember: our professional caregivers at Thoughtful Care are here to support you, and can help with holiday events and outings with your loved one as part of a routine. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Click here for more Alzheimer and dementia care videos.

For more information about Thoughtful Care visit the Thoughtful Care website.