Embracing the Festive Season with a Loved One in Memory Care
Trimming the Christmas tree. Illuminating candles. Giving gifts. Indulging in delicious food. The comfort of family and friends. ‘Tis the season for reminiscing. When a family member is in memory care, maneuvering through holidays can present both challenges and opportunities to create memories. Below, we’ll delve into five key strategies for celebrating the holidays with a loved one in memory care.
Safely adorn the space
Decking the halls is a cherished tradition, integral to fostering a festive atmosphere for everyone, including those in memory care. However, safety remains a priority. Consider limiting decorations to a select few and ensure that everything on display can be touched and explored safely. Keep spaces free of clutter and potential tripping hazards. When adding that special holiday glow, opt for lighting choices that are gentle and steady, avoiding overly bright or flickering lights that can be disorienting for those with memory challenges. Visit the National Institute of Aging for more tips to maintain your loved one’s safety while decorating.
Engage in sensory activities
Sensory activities can serve as powerful tools to evoke positive memories and establish a sense of familiarity. Involve your loved one in activities that stimulate their senses, such as baking holiday treats together, enjoying familiar seasonal music, or interacting with scented items like cinnamon sticks or fresh-cut garland.
Focusing on sensory experiences can trigger memories associated with past holidays, creating a sense of comfort. Even if the memories are unclear, the positive emotions linked to them can bring joy.
While preserving cherished traditions is important, it's equally vital to streamline them to suit your loved one's current needs. Adapt long-standing traditions to be more manageable and enjoyable. For instance, if a grand holiday meal feels overwhelming, opt for a smaller, intimate gathering with familiar faces. Sing shortened versions of carols or involve your loved one in finishing boxes with ribbons and gift tags instead of traditional gift wrapping. By simplifying traditions, you ensure that holiday celebrations remain enjoyable and accessible, allowing your loved one to participate without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Discover more helpful ways to adapt activities, in resources from the National Institute of Aging.
Balance activity and calm
Holiday festivities can be overwhelming, especially for individuals in memory care who may benefit from moments of calm amid the excitement. Designate a quiet space where your loved one can retreat if celebrations become too intense. Integrate activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a favorite holiday book or savoring hot chocolate.
Balancing lively activities with moments of calm allows your loved one to engage in the festivities at their own pace, ensuring a more enjoyable and stress-free experience for everyone involved.
Lastly, it's crucial to adjust expectations when celebrating the holidays with a loved one in memory care. Acknowledge that their abilities and preferences may have changed. Embrace the joy found in small moments and cherish the time spent together, even if it doesn't align with elaborate celebrations of the past.
By adjusting expectations, you create a positive and inclusive holiday experience that focuses on the connection and love shared with your loved one, making the season truly special for everyone involved.
Count on a trusted memory care expert
Want more tips to talk to your parent about memory care? Our senior living experts can help you and your family as we have helped so many others at Stoney Brook Senior Living Communities in Central Texas. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour.