The holiday season is a wonderful time of togetherness and tradition, but for those with an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis in the family it can become challenging.
The Kensington Reston has partnered with the Institute on Aging to present a virtual Zoom event, “Navigating the Holidays with Your Loved One with Dementia.”
At this interactive event, participants learned from experts how to choose purposeful gift ideas and creative ways to spend time with family.
Read on to hear more about the event and The Kensington Reston’s tips for planning activities, making memories, and choosing meaningful gifts for your loved one with dementia this holiday season.
Planning activities and gatherings for Alzheimer’s and dementia: A guide for families and caregivers
The holiday season can become more overwhelming and stressful for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and their caregivers. But with some thoughtful planning and adjustments, activities and gatherings can still be enjoyable.
First, it will be important for caregivers to set their expectations, understand their limits, and ask for help from family and friends.
Consider sending out a message ahead of the holiday gathering and explaining the situation and your loved one’s current needs.
Depending on you and your loved one’s unique needs, you may be able to attend a smaller gathering, or spend less time at a larger gathering.
Ask the family member hosting if they have a quiet space in the home where your loved one can go if they feel stressed, or if you’re the one hosting the event, create this space in your home.
If attending any gathering would be too overwhelming for your loved one, spending some meaningful time at home may be best.
Making memories and spending meaningful time together is best kept simple
If you plan to spend most of your time this holiday season at home with your loved one, we have plenty of ideas for how to make this time special.
Consider the following ideas to create a safe, calming, joyful holiday environment at home:
- Decorate the home together
- Bake or cook family recipes
- Play holiday tunes or movies
- Prepare or open holiday cards
- Look at old photos
You know your loved one best. Adjust these activities based on your family’s preferences and what appears to make your loved one the happiest.
Remember to act with compassion toward yourself and your loved one as you navigate this busy time of year.
If you find yourself feeling too stressed or overwhelmed, ask family members to step in so you can take part in relaxing activities you enjoy.
Gift ideas for each stage of memory loss
During our virtual event, experts shared purposeful gift ideas for your loved one with dementia at every stage of memory loss.
At The Kensington Reston, we understand the challenges involved in caring for a loved one with memory loss.
We offer three levels of memory care to our residents and specialize in customized care that emphasizes independence and self-sufficiency as much as possible.
Consider our gift ideas for seniors at each stage of memory loss.
Gifts for the early stages of memory loss
In the early stages of memory loss, many people still may be living independently.
The following gifts may be appropriate at this stage:
- Crossword puzzles
- Word searches
- Cozy socks, blanket, or robe
- Customized photo album
- Coloring books
- Craft kits
- Baked goods
- Homemade ornament or gift from children
Comforting gifts are a good idea for your loved one as they deal with the changes they are experiencing, while brain games can help boost their memory and problem-solving skills.
Gifts for the middle stages of memory loss
In the middle stages of memory loss, your loved one may be experiencing increasing difficulty with their symptoms, including more advanced memory loss, communication issues, and behavior changes.
Consider the following gift ideas for your loved one in the middle stages:
- Record player with their favorite music
- Subscription to streaming service where they can watch their favorite films
- Item customized with photos, such as a blanket, T-shirt, or mug
- Slippers or weighted blanket
Gifts in the late stages of memory loss
In the late stages of memory loss, the focus shifts to comfort, safety, and support items as your loved ones symptoms become more severe.
- Sensory items, such as a sensory kit, sensory pillow or blanket, or stuffed animal or doll
- Simple puzzle or craft
- Paint-by-number kit
- Essential oil diffuser
Take into consideration your loved one’s unique preferences and level of independence.
How The Kensington Reston devotes care to benefit both seniors and their family caregivers
Our Promise at The Kensington Reston is to love and care for your family as we do our own. We are here for you — skilled, prepared, and ready to participate fully in your care journey.
As specialists in all aspects of assisted living and memory care, we offer services and programs that are thoughtfully designed, clinically comprehensive, and highly personalized.
We improve the quality of life of our residents to the greatest extent possible — and welcome couples, even if their care needs differ.
Through our partnerships with leading experts in Alzheimer’s and dementia research and care, we are able to provide numerous resources to our residents and their families, including regular events, our blog, and our Kensington Konnect hub.
RSVP to our upcoming Zoom event to experience our partnerships in action.
The Kensington Reston is your partner in caregiving
Led by a loving, compassionate team, we’re able to provide the following services to our residents:
- Primary care manager program
- Full-time RN that coordinates all aspects of a resident’s nursing and medical care
- Licensed nurses on-site 24 hours per day
- Physician office on-site, with regular office hours
- Physical therapy and fitness center on-site
- Medication administration handled by licensed nurses
- Life enrichment activities available seven days a week, from morning till evening
- All-day dining with table linens, china, and crystal
- Wide variety of suite plans with options for private or companion living
We also have Pocket Programming or small-group activities tailored to different interests and abilities that provide opportunities for friendship and boost a sense of mastery.
Whether you are ready to move your loved one to a loving memory care community or are still exploring your caregiving options, The Kensington Reston is here to offer you the support and guidance you need every step of the way.
Reach out to our team to learn more about our upcoming events and caregiver resources.