5 Ways to Make the Holidays Special for a Person with Dementia

November 22, 2023
November 21, 2023
Posted by
Bre'anna Wilson
November 21, 2023
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The holiday season is a great time to promote joy, love, and togetherness. Let's explore 5 simple yet impactful ways to make the holidays special for a person with dementia, offering hope and inspiration to create meaningful and inclusive holiday experiences.

  1. Cook Their Favorite Meal or Dish: Food has a powerful way of evoking memories and emotions. Prepare their favorite meal or dish, and involve them in the cooking process if possible. The familiar aroma and taste can bring comfort and joy, creating a meaningful connection to cherished memories.
  2. Favorite Scents and Aromas: Engage their senses with familiar scents such as freshly baked cookies, cinnamon, or other comforting aromas. You can also use candle warmers or essential oils to infuse the surroundings with these delightful scents. However, it's important not to overwhelm them with strong or unfamiliar smells.
  3. Include Them in the Festivities:
    Incorporate them in holiday preparations and activities such as decorating, wrapping gifts, or simple cooking tasks. This involvement can provide a sense of purpose and belonging, fostering a feeling of inclusion and joy during the holiday season.
  4. Thoughtful Gift Giving
    Select a thoughtful gift that aligns with their interests and preferences. It could be a nostalgic photo album, a cozy blanket, a game, or therapeutic robotic pet in their favorite breed. Thoughtful gifts can help spark moments of happiness and connection. If you're in need of holiday gift ideas, consider downloading our '2023 Holiday Gift Ideas' for further inspiration.
  5. Simplify Celebrations and Be Mindful of Sensory Needs
    Create a calm and inclusive environment by simplifying celebrations and being mindful of sensory needs. Limit the number of guests, reduce noise and distractions, provide a quiet space for your partner to retreat to for relaxation, and offer adapted and/or alternative activities. By considering their sensory needs, you can ensure a more enjoyable and meaningful holiday experience.

Bonus Tip: Play their favorite holiday music in the days leading up to the holiday and even on the holiday itself, if it's not too overwhelming. Music has a remarkable way of evoking emotions and memories, and familiar holiday tunes can bring comfort and joy to people with dementia during this special time.

The holidays can still be a special time for people with dementia when approached with empathy and inclusiveness. By incorporating these simple yet meaningful gestures, you can create a warm and inclusive holiday season that brings joy and comfort to your partner with dementia. Despite the challenges, there are plenty of ways to infuse the season with a spirit of joy and togetherness, even amidst all the changes and complexities of dementia.

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