5 Tips to Helping Loved Ones with Dementia Enjoy the Holidays

A few years ago I wrote an article about the ‘5 tips to helping loved ones with dementia enjoy the holidays’ for Chicago’s Daily Herald.

This year I figured I’d do a reboot!

Spending time together as a family, especially around the holidays, is priceless. Yet, this can be a challenging season for individuals with Alzheimer's disease, or memory care needs, and their loved ones, but a little preparation can make a big difference! Here are 5 easy, hands-on techniques you can use to enjoy this holiday season together.


Tip #1

Bring a family pet along! This provides a wonderful connection to someone who may not always be able to fully communicate. Furry friends also assist as conversation starters. If a real-life pet is not an option, check out our Companion Pets.


Tip #2

During visits, provide your loved one with an object they can hold to reduce confusion and fear. This can rewire the brain to form new connections and helps ground the person in the moment, which helps increase alertness, attention, and calmness. 


Tip #3

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically occurs around the winter months. Set a routine for the day to ensure your loved one gets some sunshine and a chance to exercise. Schedule in a family walk after lunch and maximize daylight hours. 


Tip #4

As cognitive loss progresses, your loved one may become more agitated and prone to anger. Such behavior can hinder the desire to visit and make communication awkward. Consider trying aromatherapy by using certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Use doTERRA’s lavender and wild orange oils to promote a balanced mood.


Tip #5

Music has many benefits for those with memory care needs. If your loved one likes music, playing songs they know can help improve mood and increase awareness and clear thinking. 


The holiday season should be as joyous as possible for everyone. Utilizing holistic techniques may enhance the quality of this holiday season for you and your loved one. Think about reminiscing about holidays past together and share photos from previous celebrations. Remember the good times and hold onto happy memories this holiday season.


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