Spirit of Holidays Past


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For those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, the joys of the holiday season can often be mixed with concern over potential behavioral issues that might arise, or fears that the senior may be withdrawn.

 

Through the Alzheimer’s CARE program, we have had enormous success managing typical behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and keeping our clients engaged by really getting to know them and their histories: the songs they love, the places they’ve lived and their cherished memories.

 

Because the holidays are so rich with these associations, it’s a great time to draw upon them to help your senior. Here are some ways to get started:

 

  • Dig out old photo albums and go through them with your senior, paying special attention to pictures of holidays with loved ones. Encourage your senior to tell you what they can remember about the holidays pictured or from the era during which the photos were taken.

 

  • Play holiday music and make special note of which songs your senior seems to be responding to best. Once you know some of their favorite songs, you can often play or sing a verse to calm or divert them when they are agitated or as a pivot point for engagement.

 

  • Simmer a holiday brew of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, orange peel and other seasonal aromatics in some water on the stove. The fragrance will fill the house and may inspire your senior to reminisce about holidays past. (Just remember to turn off the burner when it is unattended.)

 

  • If your senior is able, ask them to join you in creating a simple craft or project, or doing some holiday baking of a beloved family recipe. While you are spending time together, ask them questions about their childhood and younger days.


 

Even if you know all the stories your senior will tell, giving them the chance to revisit a more vital time in their lives can be an incredibly meaningful holiday gift for both of you.

 

For more information about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, please contact us!

 

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