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5 Tips for Celebrating the Holiday Season with a Loved One in Memory Care

Posted on: Dec 04, 2018

The holiday season is a time that is often filled with family gatherings, gift giving, shared meals with friends and big celebrations. For many seniors, this is also a time to look back on cherished memories – remembering special events, presents and outings with loved ones. However, if you have a loved one in memory care, the holidays may look a bit different.

While this can be a stressful time for many people across the country, those who have a family member in memory care may be dealing with feelings of frustration and sadness as well. Luckily, with a bit of understanding and patience, there can still be plenty of joy to spread around during the holidays. Keep reading to learn more about our top tips for enjoying the holidays with a loved one in memory care.

5 Tips for Celebrating the Holiday Season with a Loved One in Memory Care

1. Prepare Seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Sometimes a little extra help during the holiday season can go a long way for those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you have a loved one who is already in memory care, it is more difficult to disrupt their regular routine, so bring the celebration to them. If possible, visit in smaller groups for shorter periods of time to avoid making them feel overwhelmed.

By sticking to their schedule, you can help make sure they are getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and taking their medications on time. This is the best way to avoid a negative impact on their comfort level and overall mood. Additionally, having access to a quiet place where they can rest away from visitors is a great way to keep them comfortable and enjoying themselves.

2. Find Balance

It is no secret that caring for a loved one who has Dementia or Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming and the holiday rush can amplify certain challenges of your everyday routine. That’s why finding a balance is so important during the busy holiday season. Whether this means bringing in extra help to keep up with your loved one’s regular routine or limiting the amount of time you put into planning holiday events and outings.

If you need to simplify your holiday celebrations a bit by cutting back on your regular tasks like cooking, shopping or planning, that’s okay. While you want to make time for your loved ones in memory care, you don’t have to miss out on other important holiday traditions that you enjoy.

3. Get Others Involved

Having a good support system around for you and your loved ones is very important during the holidays. If possible, invite cherished friends and relatives to visit with your loved one in memory care. Just remember to take the time to explain that their abilities and behaviors may have changed since the last time they visited.

Keep things fun and relaxed for everyone by avoiding complex party games and elaborate gift-giving events. Instead, opt for relaxed meetings with food and music. Make sure you are meeting in a comfortable environment where guests can take turns visiting with your loved one as well.

4. Go with the Flow

Being flexible and patient is something that is necessary for most family situations during the holidays. So, it should come as no surprise that you may need to tap into those qualities quite often while visiting with loved ones in memory care during the holidays. Do your best to take one day at a time and remain positive. If you need to take a step back from a more elaborate celebration with your loved one, that is okay. In the end, what really matters is the time that you spend together – not the presents, or music or the holiday meals.

However, simple decorations and smaller group gatherings are a great place to start. From there, you can add more or tone things down a bit depending on how comfortable your loved one seems with the festivities.

5. Ask for Help

While you may be tempted to take on all this planning and hosting by yourself, don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. Many memory care communities have tools in place that are designed to help their residents and families find balance during the holiday season. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’ve run out of ideas for celebrating with your loved one, we may be able to help! So please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Enjoy the Holidays with The Philadelphia Protestant Home

As you prepare for a happy holiday season with a family member in memory care, be sure to follow these important tips. Interested in learning more about the memory care services available at our continuing care retirement community? Contact our friendly team today for more information.

What Residents Say

"In my two years at PPH, I’ve grown to like it very much. At first, I felt like a stranger and then as I began to talk to people, we increasingly became good friends. A way to meet people is to join clubs. I’m now part of the PPH Auxiliary. I love helping with their flea markets because you never know what you can find. Recently, I’ve joined an evening quilting class. I love that I can continue to enjoy my life outside of PPH while experiencing the offers here.….especially the pool! Everything is just so convenient.

– Lucille Hite, Independent Living resident

What Families Say

"My mom is sooo happy at PPH, I can’t even describe it in strong enough words. She’s met so many new friends and these ladies do EVERYTHING together! She sees Dad every day in Pathways, but can have her life too. She’s gone to so many activities and I think I’ve already been to Scoops with her at least 15 times. She loves the dining room and Bistro too. My sister, Ilene, and I are so delighted that Mom is happy.......Wow, it feels like Mom’s been there about 2 years—but it’s only 2 months!! That’s how comfortable and natural it feels for her – and for all of us.

– Rhonda Frenkel, daughter of residents Jack & Bernice Segal