In a few short weeks, families across the US will step back from the activities of their daily lives and give thanks for the people they cherish. With a tantalizing abundance of delicious food and precious quality time spent with friends and loved ones, it’s no wonder a recent Statista survey named Thanksgiving as the #1 most popular national event.
And while the occasion can be challenging for those with neurocognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s, residential memory care empowers seniors; offering holiday experiences that both meet their needs and honor personal family traditions.
Why Are the Holidays Difficult for Seniors With Dementia?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the holidays can evoke feelings of stress and sadness for seniors with dementia, as the season may highlight the difficult changes they’ve experienced as a result of their condition. The challenges faced by seniors with dementia during the holidays may be physical, social, or emotional. For example:
- Socializing with extended family could be daunting if they’ve started to mix up or forget words.
- They may become easily overwhelmed by loud and energetic environments.
- Seniors with dementia often prefer a stable, regular daily routine. Diverting from what’s familiar could cause some anxiety or agitation.
- If your loved one has always been heavily involved in organizing Thanksgiving, they might find it frustrating or upsetting if they cannot fulfill their usual role.
Making Thanksgiving Enjoyable
As a family caregiver, it’s difficult to see a parent or relative struggling to cope with occasions they once loved. Thankfully, while you may need to slightly alter your approach, many seniors with dementia can enjoy the holidays their way. Here are three quick tips that may help you support your loved one with dementia at Thanksgiving:
1. Plan the day’s activities around their schedule. This is a simple way to make the day seem less out of the ordinary, which can be comforting for seniors who enjoy routine. For example, if your loved one typically eats their biggest meal at a specific time, you should gather the family for Thanksgiving dinner at this time. Or if they have a mid-afternoon nap, you could schedule some quiet downtime that allows them to do this as usual.
2. Involve them in the preparations. If your relative has always played a vital role in the organization of Thanksgiving, there are ways to help them feel involved even if they can no longer do everything they used to. For example, you might ask them if they’d like to help with tasks that match their capabilities, like setting the table, stirring food, creating decorations, or folding napkins.
3. Give visitors communication tips. Try to make sure your loved one feels included in conversations. Facilitate positive interactions by letting family members know what topics and types of communication your loved one prefers. For example, if they’ve become less fond of physical signs of affection like hugging, informing your guests in advance could help prevent unnecessary anxiety or discomfort. Reminiscing is often a lovely, therapeutic activity for seniors with dementia; while they may have poor short-term memory, long-term memories remain relatively robust. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reflect on fond family memories together, and it’s an activity seniors with dementia can get involved in.
Thanksgiving in Residential Memory Care
In residential memory care communities, Thanksgiving and other holidays are celebrated in a way that honors residents’ needs. At Alpine View Lodge, staff and residents enjoy festive occasions alongside friends and family caregivers. Residents enjoy parties hosted with memory care in mind and have access to various daily activities perfect for the winter months, including arts and crafts, movie nights, games, music, and baking. Many of these activities can be adapted with festive themes for the holidays.
Every person that walks through the door of our senior care community is unique. Not only does each resident have their personality, but dementia is also experienced differently by each individual. With such a variety of activities and events available, residents can pick and choose pursuits that nurture their interests. If a senior wishes to join an activity but has some anxiety, we strive to make accommodations that allow them to get involved in a way that works for them.
Personalized Senior Care
Alongside the range of events and activities, senior care communities empower residents to live well all year round. With enhanced security measures to keep seniors with dementia safe and prevent wandering, carefully tailored senior care plans, and varied social opportunities, residents can feel safe, seen, and supported at all times.
Alpine View Lodge residents benefit from:
- Delicious, freshly prepared meals that cater to personal likes and dislikes.
- A small, close-knit community.
- An onsite beauty salon.
- A beautiful home with well-kept grounds and views of the hills.
- A convenient housekeeping and laundry service.
- Compassionate activities of daily living (ADL) support from experienced caregivers.
- A secure perimeter that allows residents to enjoy the grounds freely and safely.
- Expert, resident-centered memory care and hospice care.
As a proud family-oriented memory care community, Alpine View Lodge’s caregivers are committed to delivering the quality memory care every senior deserves. To see how we put our core values of respect, trust, community, and family into practice, schedule a tour today.