When your loved one has dementia, it can make even joyful and exciting parts of the year a little nerve-wracking. After all, you want to make sure that your loved one feels as comfortable and welcomed as possible. Here are some tips for navigating holiday conversations when your loved one has dementia.
Aside from planning ahead for what activities you’ll be doing, you can also plan ahead a little bit for conversation. Are there any topics that everyone should avoid? Do you know of any specific things that your loved one likes to talk about that would make for an enjoyable conversation? You should also consider using name tags if you are planning a large gathering, especially if there are grandchildren who might have grown up a great deal since the last time your loved one saw them.
For some people, it is frustrating to interact with people who have dementia because they constantly want to correct the facts. If you feel yourself identifying with that, it’s important to know that you are not alone. However, in order to benefit your loved one as much as possible, it’s a better idea to validate them. Connection is more important than getting every detail correct. Focus on keeping conversations light and pleasant, and avoid getting stuck on details. If you have family members who have never interacted with someone who has dementia before, it’s also good to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of conversing with someone who has dementia.
Looking at photographs together is a great way to bond as a family, and it’s also an excellent holiday activity too. Photos are a great conversation starter, and they are also a good way to help remind your loved one of specific places and times. When looking at pictures together, it’s a good idea to ask specific questions like when it was or who is in the picture. If your loved one does not remember, do not push or get upset.
Senior Care Lifestyles specializes in connecting seniors with the right in-home care, assisted living, or senior living community to meet their needs. We have helped hundreds of clients and treat each senior as a valued member of our own family deserving our personalized attention, compassion and respect.
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