Thanksgiving is the iconic family holiday. This day, more than any other holiday, is one in which family from far and wide get together for a wonderful feast and share memories of days gone by. But, for a family member who is suffering from dementia, Thanksgiving can be an entirely different experience.
Seniors with dementia often find the holidays to be an emotionally challenging time. They may not be able to recall the names of all of their beloved family members; they can easily get overwhelmed at the sheer number of people, or they may get frustrated at their inability to remember cherished family memories. This frustration can often result in emotional outbursts and discomfort.
But, there are some things you can do to help your loved one enjoy a more comfortable and spiritually uplifting Thanksgiving. Try these tips from Davis dementia care in Wilmington NC.
Prepare Your Loved One for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving can be overwhelming for someone with dementia, so it helps to prepare your loved one a few days in advance for the big family get-together. Talk to them about who will be there, why they are coming, how they are related to them, and what they should expect. Show pictures of those attending the dinner to your loved one and talk about them. Doing this every day in the days leading up to Thanksgiving Day will help prepare your loved one as much as possible.
Plan an Appropriate Thanksgiving Dinner
If your loved one struggles in the presence of a large group of people, then you may want to scale down the size of the family get-together this year. This will involve talking with your other family members and coming up with an appropriate way to spend the holiday so nobody will feel left out. One way to help resolve this problem is to have Thanksgiving dinner at the home of the family member with the largest house. This will help reduce the chance of your loved one feeling closed-in.
Prepare the Other Guests
Most people are not familiar with the effects of dementia and when one who is afflicted with it acts out, it can be startling for those around them. But, if you prepare the other guests in advance about what to expect, then any episodes that may arise won’t be as startling and it will be easier to calm your loved one down. When preparing the other guests, you should also tell them the things that your loved one does remember or the things he or she likes. This will make it easier for the guests to talk to grandma or grandpa and to involve them in conversations.
Plan for a Change of Scenery if Necessary
If your loved one starts getting anxious due to all of the noise in the living room or at the dining room table, then it will help if you have a plan for dealing with it. Having a quiet room set aside in which you can take them so they can relax can be very beneficial. Even better, you can have a grandchild take grandma or grandpa to the quiet room so they can spend some quality time with them apart from the others.
Have a Schedule Set for the Day
Seniors with dementia usually fare best when they stick to a general routine, but Thanksgiving can be a lengthy holiday and that alone can prove to be a challenge. As a result, try to stick to your loved one’s routine as much as possible. If they take a nap at a certain time, then have them take a nap in the quiet room at the appropriate time. If they have a favorite show that comes on at the same time every day, then take them to the quiet room so they can watch it.
Dementia Care in Wilmington NC is Available for Those Who Need It
Despite all of the challenges, Thanksgiving can still be a wonderful holiday for someone with dementia, especially when their caregiver provides the proper planning and consideration. But, if your loved one’s dementia has reached the point that you can no longer provide the adequate level of care they require, then contact the Davis Community today. We provide advanced dementia care in Wilmington NC and we can help your loved one enjoy a better quality of life.
For more information about Davis Community or our medical programs and dementia care services, just give us a call today at 910-566-1200.